Keywords: Occupational Welfare; Welfare System; Inequality; Quality of Work; Universalism.
The article provides an overview of the evolution of occupational welfare programs. It considers the parallel evolution of the labour market and the nature of work in an advanced western country, like Italy, as well as the evolution of social needs. Following the seminal work by Titmuss, occupational welfare is considered as one of the institutional arrangements that make up a social protection system, along with social and fiscal welfare. On the basis of these considerations, the article deals with the recent spread of occupational welfare in Italy, and the concurrent decline and retrenchment of social and fiscal welfare. These phenomena challenge the institutional balance that has traditionally characterized the access to and delivery of social benefits in Italy. Based on the analysis of the legislative measures that recent Governments have introduced in order to promote occupational welfare programs, the authors discuss the risks and the opportunities stemming from the diffusion of occupational welfare in the current Italian socio-economic scenario.