Dagmara Nikulin

How to define and measure informal employment in CEE countries - the case of Poland

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Abstract

Abstract

The study of informal employment is still associated with several obstacles, from the scope of definition, through measurement methods, to policy recommendations. This article aims to revise the existing methodological frames in order to point out how to improve the study of informal employment in CEE countries. The case of Poland serves to examine whether the common definitions and measurement methods are suitable for an inclusive measurement of the scale of informal employment in CEE countries, which are mostly former socialist countries. Firstly, we describe the current state of informal employment relations in CEE countries to indicate the similarities among them. Secondly we compare the existing research on informal employment in Poland with the common definitions of this phenomenon, and in this way look for more comprehensive measures of informal employment in Poland (and other CEE countries). Through a critical analysis of existing research on informal employment we indicate possible extensions of definition and the scope of measurement of informal employment in CEE countries.

 

Dominika Polkowska

The “precarity trap” of Poland’s youth labour market: flexible employment a barrier or opportunity?

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Abstract

Abstract

Precarity is a condition of people who are forced to make a living by taking up low-quality work, i.e. jobs that may be i.a. temporary, low-paid, with no prospect of promotion, and most often without the security of a contract. Young people unable to find permanent employment very often accept any available job, usually unrelated to their qualifications and of a transient character. This paper analyses the situation of young people (under age 29) on the labour market in Poland compared to that of other European countries in the context of the risk (based on data from Eurostat) of falling into the “precarity trap”. The dual-market theory is applied as theoretical background. Polish youth is somewhat more at risk of precarity than their peers in other Central and Eastern European countries, but their situation is much better than that of young people in the Southern European countries.

 

Vassil Kirov, Ekaterina Markova, Darina Peycheva

Hybrid work organisation in the construction sector in Bulgaria: employees or sub-contractors?

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Abstract

Abstract

The article investigates the hybrid employment and work-organisation practices contributing to the flexibilisation of the construction-sector labour market in Bulgaria. Although it is commonly assumed that the formal economy is separate from the informal economy, authors such as Williams (2003) draw attention to a “hybrid”, semi-formal work practice where formal employees receive two wages from their formal employer: one declared and the other – undeclared. We argue that in the context of South-Eastern Europe this phenomenon is accompanied by other arrangements blurring the boundary between formality and informality. In the construction sector in Bulgaria work teams (“brigades”) are formally employed by a construction company, but de facto act as sub-contractors, as the brigade “leader” negotiates the terms and conditions with the employer, manages the team and distributes its wages. The article examines the implications of this hybridisation for the employment status, working time, and wages and job-skills using three case studies conducted in the European comparative research project WALQING (Work and Life Quality in New and Growing Jobs).

 

Julia Kubisa

From better job quality to higher-quality care – Polish nurses’ collective struggle with the public healthcare system

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Abstract

Abstract

This article examines Polish nurses’ job quality in the context of changes in the Polish healthcare system. Job quality is understood as skill development and workers’ participation combined with work quality and employment quality: wage level and type of contract, working time, autonomy, the social work environment and the pace of work. The crucial problems of Polish nurses are connected with lack of control over working time, the forms of contracts, and with increasing work pressure due to low nurse/patient ratios. The specific vulnerabilities of care work are time pressure and work intensification. Its quality relies much on the possibility of teamwork and opportunities to establish a relationship with the patient. The article examines the strategies of collective resistance undertaken by Polish nurses to shape their job quality in relation to its direct consequences for the quality of care.

 

Olga Czeranowska

Formal and informal care work in the hierarchy of occupational prestige

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Abstract

Abstract

The hierarchy of occupational prestige is a valuable source of information about society’s values. Unfortunately, in existing research, care work is mostly absent. For my PhD thesis I therefore conduct research on the new meanings of occupational prestige in care work, with a research plan based on a mixed-mode explanatory sequence design. It consists of quantitative research (desk research, PAPI questionnaire and media analysis) and a second, qualitative stage. On the basis of the quantitative research I identified occupational groups of high prestige, among which were elderly-care assistants. In the second stage I conducted qualitative interviews with an interview scenario focused on occupational prestige and identity, including such issues as relations between work and private life, and gender differences.

 

emecon No 1/2016