This chapter examines the policy environment for lone mothers in respect of paid work, care-giving and transitions between periods of caring and paid work in the poor workers category. This category is composed of Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the United States, and is distinguished by the relatively high proportion of lone mothers who are undertaking paid work and their relatively high rate of poverty when doing so. A key concern of this chapter, therefore, is to establish whether we can identify a particular logic to the configuration of policies around paid work, care and transitions within this group of countries which can explain firstly, why lone mothers tend to be paid workers as opposed to full-time carers, and secondly, why paid work does not appear to protect lone mothers from the risk of poverty. As the data in Tables 4. 2, 4. 3a and 4. 3b in Chapter Four alluded to, however, this country-grouping also manifests a considerable degree of variation in respect of both activity status and poverty rates which our analysis should be sensitive to. Thus, in this chapter we will also seek to determine whether there are differences in the quality of social rights around paid work, caring and transitions such that: (i) while predominantly engaged in paid work in all countries, lone mothers' rate of employment varies across the group, ranging from a high of 87 per cent in Japan, to a low of 60 per cent in the United States; (ii) while lone mothers tend to be relatively poor as paid workers in all countries, the percentage who are so varies between countries, ranging from a high of 42 per cent in Austria, to a low of 13 per cent in Greece; and (iii) while care-giving lone mothers in Austria,
Germany, Japan, Portugal and the United States also seem to be highly vulnerable to poverty, their counterparts in Luxembourg, Spain, Greece and Italy do not appear to be so.