The digital transformation of work and social services – new gaps in social rights?


The aim of WP8 is to identify how the broader changes in the digitalisation of work and public services is affecting citizens’ opportunities and creating obstacles to them participating in the economy and exercising their social rights. This aim will be examined by four core objectives: 

  1. Compare how selected national social protection systems have responded to the digital transformation of the economy. 
  2. Examining citizens’ attitudes towards and experiences with digitisation of employment and in access to social protection. 
  3. Assess if provision of income maintenance benefits, health and social services, and information about labour law using digital channels, enhance or exclude citizens’ exercising of their social rights. 

Identify ways digital technologies could be effectively used to enhance and modernise social protection policies.

Description of work

Task 8.1: Examine whether European countries have adjusted their social protection systems (income maintenance, social services, social regulation) to prevent social exclusion in the digital economy. This work will be informed by the standardised country reports on national social protection systems in EE, DE, HU, IT, NO, ES, and UK (as described above in section 1.3b and under WP4 task 4.1). The country reports will provide information about how and to what extent national governments have reformed their social protection systems as part of the digital transformation of the economy. 

Lead partner: US. Participants: OsloMet, UniMi, TU, UHH, TÁRKI. Duration: 2-14.

Task 8.2: Provide a summary and assessment of existing data on the extent of digital forms of employment and public social services in the 28 EU member states. This will compare developments across the EU using evidence from the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) over time to plot change with a particular focus on the public sector and e-government. 

Lead partner: US. Participant: TU. Duration: Month 15-20.

Task 8.3: Examine citizens’ attitudes towards the impact of digitisation in daily lifeacross the EU. The task will draw on data from the Special Eurobarometer 460 carried out between 18 and 27 March 2017 including some 28,000 EU citizens from different social and demographic categories who were interviewed face-to-face at home in their native language in the 28 Member States.

Lead partner: US. Participants: TU. Duration: Month 18-23.Task 8.4: Identify ways for national social protection systems (income maintenance, social services, social regulation) to prevent social exclusion in the digital economy. This work will build on findings from tasks 8.1-8.3. Two sources of primary data will feed into this task. First, we will draw on interviews with chief digital government officers. The interviews will identify how the officers anticipate the roll out of digital services and what can be done to engage the disconnected. We will recruit the interviewees as part of the crosscutting set of expert interviews in EUROSHIP (see Section 

1.3b Methodology). Second, relevant societal organisations trying to reduce the digital divide will be invited to participate in the focus forums (see section 1.3b above) to understand their perspectives on the barriers reinforcing the digital divide and opportunities to influence policy solutions (see Section 1.3b Methodology). The countries examined will include those with a high score of digital density in e-government according to the DESI (Estonia (2nd), Spain (4th) and Norway (although they are not in the DESI), mid-performing countries (the UK (14th) and low density countries (Italy (20th), Germany (22nd) and Hungary (27th).

Lead partner: US. Participants: OsloMet. Duration: Month 19-30

Task 8.5 will summarise and integrate the findings from WP8 on how intersectional inequalities affect individuals’ potential to exercise social rights and fully participate in the emerging digital economy.  Lead partner: US. Participants: OsloMet. Duration: Month 29-31