Politics of welfare

The Polish welfare system in the first decades of the 21st century

Authored by: Renata Siemienska , Anna Domaradzka

Routledge Handbook of European Welfare Systems

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367259150
eBook ISBN: 9780429290510
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429290510-23

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Abstract

The last 30 years of Polish welfare system development were marked by several changes in the approach to the social security system and the methods of implementing policies. Centro-liberal governments’ attempts to ‘escape forward’ by deepening liberalisation ended with the withdrawal of these reforms. The government was devoted to the modernisation of infrastructure, paying less attention to the economic situation of people with low income. Since the end of 2015, major conservative changes related to the programme of the new Law and Justice government took place. This included restoring lower retirement age, reversing school structure reform, and introducing family benefits (so-called 500+ programme) for families with more than one child. The liberal-conservative model of the welfare state that has been shaped in Poland through the years of transformation is now turning towards a conservative-clientelist model. The introduced policy changes go hand in hand with a low employment rate of women, which over time leads to the phenomenon of a feminisation of poverty.

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