June 11, 2021

Friday news roundup June 11, 2021

Friday news roundup June 11, 2021

Emmanuel Macron says France’s pension reform cannot go ahead as planned. The French President has said that his planned pension reforms cannot go ahead as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The planned revamp of France’s pension system, which costs the government 14% of economic output, prompted weeks of transport strikes when it was originally announced; it was later shelved when the pandemic hit the economy. Macron has acknowledged that it would create extra anxiety among a population already worried about the outcome of the global pandemic. The reform plan included raising the retirement age to 64 (currently 62), replacing dozens of sector-specific regimes with a universal, points-based system, and getting rid of some legacy regimes in the state railways, utilities, and other industries where some workers are entitled to retire on a full pension years before the average retirement age. The president says he will look at the health of the economic recovery and soundness of the country’s public finances before making a final decision.

Explore IZA World of Labor content on the aging workforce and pensions reform.

Furloughed part-time workers in the UK fear redundancy come September. According to flexible working campaigners Timewise, the UK’s 7.8 million part-time workers, most of whom are women, will bear the brunt of job losses when the country’s furlough scheme ends in September. Timewise’s director of development, Emma Stewart, says part-time workers could “effectively be locked out of work” after analysis of job adverts revealed just 8% of UK job vacancies are advertised as part-time. Part-time employment has fallen at its fastest rate in at least 30 years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Office for National Statistics figures show 7.8 million people were employed part-time between January and March in 2021 compared to 8.7 million in the same period in 2020. The number of women employed part-time over the same period fell from 6.4 million to 5.7 million.

Read Pierre Cahuc’s IZA World of Labor article on “Short-time work compensation schemes and employment,” and find more content on the pandemic.

Italy’s birth rate is lower than ever. Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has a €21 billion ($25.4 billion) plan to counteract the country’s declining birth rate, including a universal income for all workers. Italy’s birth rate fell to a record low in 2020 with about 16,000 fewer births than in 2019. According to the Italian statistics agency, Istat, Italy recorded an average of 1.24 children per woman in 2020 compared with 1.27 the previous year, the lowest rate in Europe after Spain and Malta. Experts blame the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the impact hitting women particularly hard. Draghi says his government is planning to extend benefits for couples and women, including cash payments for families with children. It also plans to allocate €5 billion for new pre-schools and primary schools. In contrast, Germany, which has relatively generous child allowances, support for working mothers, and added pre-school space, has seen an uptick in births in recent years.

Find IZA World of Labor content related to fertility and its impact on labor economics.