The Treaty of Rome and equality

By Hélène Périvier

The Treaty of Rome: Article 119, Title VIII, “Social Policy, Education, Vocational Training, and Youth”, Chapter 1: Social Provisions: Each Member State shall during the first stage ensure and subsequently maintain the application of the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. Continue reading “The Treaty of Rome and equality”

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Do separated fathers bear a greater sacrifice in their standard of living than their ex-partners?

by Hélène Périvier OFCE-PRESAGE

The recent study published by France Strategy on the sharing of the costs of children after a separation has caused a stir (see in particular Dare feminism, Abandoning the family, as well as SOS Papa [all in French]). The study analyses the changes in the standard of living of both the former spouses, taking into account the interaction between the indicative scale for child support and the tax-benefit system. This approach is stimulating, as it endeavours to see whether the redistribution effected through the welfare state fairly and equitably deals with the costs of the child borne by each former spouse. Continue reading “Do separated fathers bear a greater sacrifice in their standard of living than their ex-partners?”

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Equality at risk from simplification

By Françoise Milewski and Hélène Périvier

Legislating to promote equality

The laws on equality in pay and in the workplace have come a long way since 1972, from the affirmation of the principle of equality to the production of a detailed numerical diagnosis that puts flesh on the bones of inequality (via the Comparative Situation Reports that have been drawn up since 1983 under the Roudy law) as well as to the duty to negotiate. The 2006 law paved the way for hitting recalcitrant companies with financial penalties, as set out in an article in the 2009 law on pensions. There were numerous attempts to limit the scope of the law up to 2012, when things were more or less clarified: companies are now obliged to produce a CSR, which reports annually on the state of inequality in well-defined areas; they must then conduct negotiations on occupational equality and equal pay and, if there is no agreement, they are required to take unilateral action. There are exhaustive controls, with agreements or plans to be filed with the government (no longer on a one-off basis as in the first formulations of the implementing decree). Companies that fail to comply with the law are put on notice to remedy this on pain of financial penalties of up to 1% of payroll. Continue reading “Equality at risk from simplification”

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Recession and Austerity: Gender Equality Jeopardized

By Anne Eydoux,[1] Antoine Math,[2] and Hélène Périvier[3]

The crisis that began in 2008 has hit European countries diversely, causing economic and labour market disequilibria of more or less magnitude. As with past global crises, the current one has gendered implications. While women’s employment is said to have been preserved relative to men’s in the early stage of a recession, austerity plans implemented in several countries to limit public deficits and debts are deemed to affect female workers more deeply. How gendered are labour market changes in recession and austerity and how should cross-country differences be analysed? This special issue of the Revue de l’OFCE notably points out the protective role of the gendered segregation of labour markets (i.e. the fact that women and men do not work in the same sectors or occupations): male-dominated sectors (construction, industry, etc.) are generally first hit in recession, while female-dominated sectors (services and the public sector) remain quite sheltered from a quick drop in the demand for labour – but are exposed to job losses at a later stage. Continue reading “Recession and Austerity: Gender Equality Jeopardized”

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Sharing parental leave: a must for equality

By Hélène Périvier

The bill on equality between women and men, approved by the Senate on 18 September 2013, includes a component aimed at modifying the arrangements for access to the allocation of parental leave [1] by introducing what is called the free choice of activity (“CLCA”). The latest OFCE Note (no. 34 of 26 September 2013) analyzes the consequences of this measure for gender equality and proposes other possibilities for a broader reform. Continue reading “Sharing parental leave: a must for equality”

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Reforming the conjugal quotient

By Guillaume Allègre and Hélène Périvier

As part of a review of family benefit programmes (the motivations for which are in any case debatable), the government has announced plans to reduce the cap on the family quotient benefit in the calculation of income tax (IR) from 2014. The tax benefit associated with the presence of dependent children in the household will be reduced from 2000 to 1500 euros per half share. Opening discussion on the family quotient should provide an opportunity for a more general review of how the family is taken into account in the calculation of income tax, and in particular the taxation of couples. Continue reading “Reforming the conjugal quotient”

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Family benefits: family business?

By Hélène Périvier

Bertrand Fragonard has submitted his report to the Prime Minister; it aims, first, to enhance the redistributive nature of family policy and, second, to rebalance the accounts of the family branch, which have recently been running a deficit, by 2016. A realignment of family benefits towards low-income families is proposed as the first objective. As for the second, the two options proposed are adjusting benefits based on means, or taxing them. How can 2 billion euros be found in today’s lean times? Continue reading “Family benefits: family business?”

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The taxation of family benefits – is this the right debate?

By Hélène Périvier and François de Singly

Debate on the taxation of the family allowance has begun once again. Faced with a deficit in the government’s family accounts of about 2.5 billion euros in 2012, the idea of taxing the allowance has resurfaced as a way to refill coffers that have emptied, in particular as a result of the economic crisis. The debate often pits an accounting logic that aims to make up the deficits quickly against the logic of a conservative family policy. This post offers a broader perspective that goes beyond this binary approach to the issue. Continue reading “The taxation of family benefits – is this the right debate?”

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