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Mandatory occupational welfare: Severance pay as an unemployment compensation instrument

Abstract This study focuses on the conceptual and empirical development of severance pay (SP)/redundancy pay schemes established through centralized collective agreements (in Nordic countries) and legislation for unemployment compensation. It argues that these “mandatory” occupational welfare benefits have been neglected in social policy debates due to the ambiguity in their conceptualization, overemphasis on their cost implications, and the nonrecognition of their redistributive effects. The study offers quantitative indicators to analyse SPs' redistributive structure (coverage, generosity, and benefit equality) during the Global Recession in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden. The findings demonstrate that SP schemes possess distinctive elements in Southern European, Continental European, Anglo‐Saxon, and Nordic clusters. The indicators are also used to analyse the interplay between these schemes and unemployment insurance/assistance in these clusters.

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