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Welfare to Work in Contemporary European Welfare StatesLegal, Sociological and Philosophical Perspectives on Justice and Domination$
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Anja Eleveld, Thomas Kampen, and Josien Arts

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447340010

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447340010.001.0001

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The right to work: a justification for welfare to work?

The right to work: a justification for welfare to work?

(p.49) 3 The right to work: a justification for welfare to work?
Welfare to Work in Contemporary European Welfare States

Elise Dermine

Policy Press

The promoters of welfare-to-work programmes sometimes state that these are based on the will to ‘better realise’ the right to work of their recipients. This chapter questions this assumption and examines whether and under which conditions, those programmes could eventually find their foundation on the fundamental right to work proclaimed in international human rights texts. It demonstrates from an analysis of the international pacts, their preparatory texts and the case law that welfare-to-work measures can only be considered as aimed at realising the right to work if they are likely to improve the chances of their recipients to later find a freely chosen, paid and productive job in the labour market. It shows that this open and abstract condition excludes a large part of welfare-to-work measures from a human rights-based justification for the type of work they value or the way they are implemented.

Keywords:   Right to Work, Welfare-to-Work, Activation Policies, International Human Rights Law, The right to freely chosen work, Productive work

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