Arbeid-en-zorgbeleid in de participatiesamenleving | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 31, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


Work and care policy in the ‘big’ society: an expansion of capabilities?

Work and care policy in the ‘big’ society: an expansion of capabilities?

In this article, we assess the extent to which national-level work-care policies in the Netherlands enable various groups in society (men and women, lower and higher educated and employees versus self-employed) to reconcile work and care. We answer this question by conducting a policy analysis using Sen’s (1992) capability approach. Applying this perspective, we evaluate the availability, accessibility and design of work-care policies in the Netherlands. In addition, we consider the importance of collective agreements and the organizational context. Our assessment shows that work-care policies and collective agreements offer greater capabilities to certain groups to reconcile work and care than to others. Childcare policy offers decreased accessibility for the self-employed and flexible work arrangements enable women more than men to take on care tasks and work part-time. In addition, higher educated workers appear to have greater access to flexible arrangements than lower educated workers, but often use this flexibility to work more rather than reconcile work with care. Moreover, current care leave policies enforce rather than challenge existing socio-cultural norms, and alternatives to the one-and-a-half earner model remain limited.


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