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In-work poverty

In-work poverty means that, despite holding a job, some people are still experiencing poverty. Since years EASPD is looking at the working conditions of staff employed in the disability and social care sector which include in-work poverty, in particular for the first-line staff. Unfavourable working conditions need to be tackled in order to unlock the job-creation potential of the social and care sector, at policy level, but also from the sector itself. For this reason, EASPD commissioned to the Vlerick Business School a study to gather creative solutions for improving recruitment and retention in the social sector.

The outcomes of this study and recommendations to policy makers were discussed with the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) and the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE) at a side event of the Third Convention of the European Platform Against Poverty.

The side-event “In-work poverty - The Contribution of Employment to Poverty Reduction and Inclusion” took place in the afternoon of 26th November. As in-work poverty is a prominent topic in the European Platform Against Poverty and in the Social Investment Package, and it is featured as an indicator in the Social Dimension of the EMU Scoreboard, the Annual Convention is the key place to give it visibility, and to look at the cross-over between the poverty and employment targets of Europe 2020, and how we can ensure that they are mutually reinforcing, rather than undermining each other.

The event was opened by EAPN, introducing the concept of in-work poverty based on their analysis of the issue, highlighting the different situations across Europe, including the role of the EU in fighting this growing phenomenon is clearly underlined.

Irene Bertana EASPD Policy Officer and Julia Bientinesi from the Vlerick Business School presented then the research done with the Vlerick Business School on recruitment and retention strategies in the social and care sector. The objective of the study was to understand why these sectors face staff shortages in Europe, despite the high number of unemployed people and to propose creative solutions on HR recruitment and retention.  

ENSIE presented an experience of a social enterprise about how to overcome in-work poverty.

The input of the three organisations was followed by a lively discussion with representatives of the European Commission and the European Trade Union Confederation, as well as with the audience, to put forward key messages and recommendations for the fight against in-work poverty in the European Union. Around 100 people attended the event.

Here you can find the presentations:

Peter Kelly, EAPN Vice-President 'In-work poverty trends and policies in the European Union' PowerPoint presentation

Danka Orobej, Expert by Experience, EAPN Hungary – Testimonial


European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)

  • Irene Bertana & Yulia Bientinesi 'Employment and working conditions in the healthsector in Europe' PowerPoint presentation 

European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE)

  • Davide Ziveri, How to overcome in-work poverty in Work Integration Social Enterprises? Re: Social Club, a best practice from Turin, Italy' click here for the Social Club's website (IT) - PowerPoint presentation


  • István Ványolós, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
  • Claudia Menne, Confederate Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation