Informations and abstract
Keywords: Occupational Welfare; Bilateralism; Health Policy; Work-Life Balance Measures.
In the context of the ongoing economic crisis, social partners and scholars' attention to bilateral agreements' role in setting up new forms of private supplementary welfare benefits and services has substantially increased. Bilateral experiences can be fully placed into the broader field of occupational welfare, alongside the better known and more and more numerous examples of corporate welfare. Unlike the latter, bilateral welfare could prove a promising avenue for providing social protection to workers employed in weak and fragmented production sectors. To what extent, then, can the tools of bilateralism contribute to the construction of a «second» welfare? To answer this question, the article examines the role currently played by regionally based bilateral organizations in providing social benefits in the artisan sector. The analysis focuses on two policy areas: health care and work-life balance. Collected data helps assess to what extent bilateralism can actually be considered as a piece of the complex second welfare puzzle, regarding the type of protected risks, the level of innovation, and the degree of territorial differentiation. The analysis also develops some preliminary remarks on best practices in fitting the cards of bilateral and public welfare together, in addition to those of different levels (regional and national) of bilateralism.