Atypical work and unemployment protection in Europe

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 15, 2021


This article evaluates the degree of income protection that the tax‐benefit system provides to atypical workers in the event of unemployment. Our approach relies on simulating transitions from employment to unemployment for the entire workforce in EU member states to compare household financial circumstances before and after the transition. Our results show that coverage rates of unemployment insurance are low among atypical workers, who are also more exposed to the risk of poverty than standard employees, both while in work and in unemployment. Low work intensity employees are characterized by having high net replacement rates. However, this is due to the major role played by the market incomes of other household members. Finally, we show that in countries where self‐employed workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, extending the eligibility to this group of workers would increase their replacement rates and make them less likely to fall into poverty in the event of unemployment.

Published in

Journal of Common Market Studies

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 59 , p.535 -555






Open Access

© 2020 The Authors. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies published by University Association for Contemporary European Studies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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