Keywords: Work flexibility - Precariousness - Atypical jobs - Unemployment benefits - Social protection
From a theoretical standpoint the flexibility of a work arrangement does not imply precariousness for the workers involved. However our empirical analysis shows that flexibility introduced through nonstandard contracts has had in Italy a negative impact on what we identified as three barriers against precariousness: employment continuity, a decent wage level and access to income-maintenance schemes in case of non-employment. Thus, even if flexibility and precariousness cannot be conflated at the analytical level, it turns out that they are strongly associated at the empirical level. In order to uncouple non-standard contracts and precariousness, we argue that each determinant of the latter should be addressed: employment continuity, wages, and social protection. In particular, we put forward a reform plan of the unemployment benefit system.