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The good culture of company welfare

An investigation by the Ca’ Foscari university puts order into one of the current issues concerning industrial relations

The company as a social entity, working for profit and for the territory, consisting of machines but most of all talented men and women. A model of organisation but also of coexistence, with objectives that do not stop at producing a correct balance sheet, but which uses a different business culture as one of its founding pillars. The company that makes company welfare one of its founding elements. However, several disparate observations and analyses have accumulated precisely on welfare, and they require attention and order. An attempt to do this was made by Alessandra Vincenti (winner of a research grant at the Department of Philosophy and the Cultural Heritage of the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice), with “Le famiglie e i nuovi strumenti di protezione sociale: il welfare aziendale” (Families and the new social protection tools: company welfare).

The article focuses on the introduction in Italy of company welfare as part of the processes of change in the welfare system which, from the Nineties, began to deal with the new social risks which families are exposed to.The outcome of a season during which the crisis drove the system of industrial relations to change, company welfare is addressed by reconstructing synthetically the legislative framework which promoted its dissemination, with a particular focus on the peculiarities of the small enterprises system and the increase in the territorial negotiations.

Vincenti writes in a plain language and the result is undoubted: it helps understand an issue that in some ways is confusing and arid, at least in the essays currently available.

The result is a welfare  which emphasises the opportunities but also the risks of accentuation of territorial sectoral dualisms, concerning the size of companies; with the emergence of a widespread risk: the waiving of universalism.

Almost at the end of her work, Alessandra VIncenti writes: “(…) company welfare for certain aspects constitutes an opportunity (for families who are less and less capable of acquiring services on the market), but it could accentuate category-specific and employment welfare so the margins of exclusion and the area of participation are increasingly defined in accordance with the employment relationship (…). In an era of debate on how to detach income from work also because the structural problem of the Italian employment market has always been the low employment rate, Italian welfare fragmentation is likely to increase, marking and initiating the waiving of universalism”.

Le famiglie e i nuovi strumenti di protezione sociale: il welfare aziendale (Families and the new social protection tools: company welfare)

Alessandra Vincenti

Topics, third series, 9/2018