Gainful work should, to the extent possible, at the same time be safeguarding the existence, high-quality and beneficial to individuals as well as to the society.
However, for many people the working conditions are deteriorating and unemployment endangers or impedes the participation in social life.
- By which sustainable economic strategy can the unemployment rate, which has been rising in the course of the past few months, and which is bound to further increase, be reduced as soon as possible?
- Is, in a more long-term perspective, the reduction of working hours in its various forms at least partly a possible alternative to a permanently rising (material) production?
- Whose interests are served with the increase in atypical employment relationships? Can the normal employment relationship still be considered to be the standard to be aimed at and the primary basis for the integration into the social security network?
- Is there a balance between flexibility and security in the flexicurity models practiced in Europe? Do employers and employees profit from them equally?
- How to deal with the fact the unpaid as well as low-wage formal work is still primarily done by women? Which further measures are necessary to reach an equality of incomes between men and women?
Work – less is more
Recently Mr. Little has been suffering from sleep disorders. His family doctor advises him to reduce the stress and to do more sports. But his is easier said than done. Due to the planned production dislocation to Asia Mr. Little is spending now even more time in the office than normally.
Time with his family and his own health have come off badly for Mr. Little in the course of the past few months, he hasn’t had the right work-life balance for a long time. One evening he meets a friend of his who is entrepreneur. Over a glass of beer Mr. Little tells him his troubles. To his complete surprise his acquaintance offers him a job as controller. The salary would be considerably lower than before, but the working time as well. Mr. Little would have again more time for his family and could also dedicate himself to his neglected hobbies. Mr. Little is aware of the fact that many other employees could not make these considerations for financial reasons. But still the decision is not easy for him.
So far Mr. Little could measure his personal value by the level of his income, now he needs other parameters for his self-esteem. He thinks about being active for the youth within the framework of the local soccer club on an honorary basis. After all he was a quite acceptable player in his youth.