Care credits in the British pension system.
In, 2009 Conference of the Social Policy Association, Edinburgh, UK,
The paper is a brief outline of the first stage of a comparative research project in the
role and adequacy of care credits in the British and German pension systems. The
provision of care credits has been an essential part of pension reforms around Europe,
which significantly changes the prospects of carers to accumulate adequate pension
contributions through their life course. But although the policy significance of care
credits is due to rise in line with an increasing demand for eldercare, our
understanding of this measure in the context of welfare protection more broadly
remains limited. Care credits in pension systems, whether they are provided for child
care or for the care of adult dependants, can operate, firstly, as a compensatory
mechanism for those who devote significant amounts of time to caring for dependants;
and secondly, as a vehicle for promoting greater gender equality in pension protection,
given that the majority of caring is still undertaken by women. This paper discusses
the function and adequacy of care credits in the British pension system in three parts.
First, the paper considers the concept of care credits as a compensatory mechanism
and its contribution to the promotion of greater gender equality in welfare provision.
The second part of the paper turns to the British context, discussing the emergence of
care credits in the pension system and the importance of the concept in the British
system of welfare protection. The third and final part of the paper considers the recent
reforms in the pension entitlement structure, including the abolition of the Home
Responsibilities Protection and the conversion of existing contributions into
qualifying credits towards a Basic state pension
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