Research to understand why people are “Working yet Poor”

  • Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF)
    20 December 2019

On December 3, 2019, Luxembourg Radio Station 100.7 conducted an on-air interview with Luca Ratti, Associate professor in European and comparative labour law at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, University of Luxembourg, and Project Coordinator for “Working, Yet Poor (WorkYP)”.

According to Eurostat, in Luxembourg last year, 13.5 percent of the active population was affected by poverty risk – the second highest rate in the EU after Romania. A pan-European research project aims to explain the phenomenon of the so-called “working poor” in a number of EU Member states.

Within this context, Luca Ratti spoke with Françoise Keller about the basic paradox that having a job does not make someone fully immune against poverty. A 15 October, 2019 Statec paper revealed that 1 in 7 workers in the country were “at risk of poverty”, a statistic that is likely to be a surprise to many people, particularly as Luxembourg is such a wealthy country.  

The research for the WorkYP Project will be conducted to understand the sources of the problem focusing on some specific groups more are at risk of poverty.

In 2017, almost 10% of the EU’s working population was at risk of living in poverty, representing roughly 20.5 million EU citizens. Beyond social exclusion, divergence, and inequality, in-work poverty also jeopardises a fundamental and essential feature of EU citizenship: the prospect of a decent life. Governmental action to reverse the trend is needed, but determining how to tackle the problem requires understanding its sources. The WorkYP Project will augment that understanding and help focus and improve governmental responses.

Cross-border Project Led in Luxembourg

Luca Ratti, coordinator of the “Working, Yet Poor” Project recently won a Horizon 2020 call in one of the most competitive work programmes: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies. He will lead a multinational and interdisciplinary research team comprised of researchers from eight European universities (Frankfurt, Bologna, Leuven, Rotterdam, Tilburg, Gdansk and Lund) as well as three social rights institutions active in Europe.

Conchita D’Ambrosio, Professor of economics at the University of Luxembourg, will contribute her expertise on inequalities, poverty and social exclusion.

The University of Luxembourg was chosen to coordinate the WorkYP Project due to its outstanding reputation as an effective incubator of multidisciplinary research projects with real-world implications.

This project, says Luca Ratti, is ultimately pointing to the (in)ability of labour law to respond throughout the years to the real needs of working people. If, in a given country, we have that 15% of workers live below the poverty line, it is an issue for labour law as well as for social partners, and needs to be thoroughly addressed.”

The WorkYP Project was awarded 3.2 million euros for three years by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. Starting next February 2020, the project consortium will examine the social and legal reasons behind the increasing number of EU citizens who are still at risk of living below the poverty line despite being employed.

The interview is only available in Luxembourgish.

AktuellesLauschteren  / 03. Dez 2019 – 07:20 / radio 100,7


You can also read an interview with Luca Ratti with Luxinnovation in English.

You can also read an article on the programme in Delano Magazine in English.