Coronavirus and the world of work

23-04-2020

The coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to curb its spread have had far-reaching and lasting consequences in different sectors of the economy, in the form of job and income losses or significantly modified working conditions. This briefing gives an overview of the host of problems confronting workers and employers due to the pandemic and its consequences, and presents possible solutions that can be applied at different levels. A set of solutions concerns the level of the individual worker or the company employing them. Certain types of occupations, for instance, allow 'going digital' (even if teleworking also has its challenges). In other cases, the company can pay partial or total wages or sick leave to its employees. At yet another level, that of the Member States, short-time work schemes can be introduced or have their scope further extended. Governments can also regulate parameters of teleworking or extend income replacements to groups of workers benefiting from lesser social protection. Through initiatives such as the Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in Emergency (SURE) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives, the European Union is taking an active part in tackling the coronavirus crisis by supporting Member States, companies and workers to face the challenges. At its 16-17 April plenary session, the European Parliament voted on and adopted a number of important coronavirus-related proposals, concerning among others workers in certain sectors (healthcare, fishermen and aquaculture farmers) as well as more flexible use of the European structural and investment funds.

The coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to curb its spread have had far-reaching and lasting consequences in different sectors of the economy, in the form of job and income losses or significantly modified working conditions. This briefing gives an overview of the host of problems confronting workers and employers due to the pandemic and its consequences, and presents possible solutions that can be applied at different levels. A set of solutions concerns the level of the individual worker or the company employing them. Certain types of occupations, for instance, allow 'going digital' (even if teleworking also has its challenges). In other cases, the company can pay partial or total wages or sick leave to its employees. At yet another level, that of the Member States, short-time work schemes can be introduced or have their scope further extended. Governments can also regulate parameters of teleworking or extend income replacements to groups of workers benefiting from lesser social protection. Through initiatives such as the Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in Emergency (SURE) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives, the European Union is taking an active part in tackling the coronavirus crisis by supporting Member States, companies and workers to face the challenges. At its 16-17 April plenary session, the European Parliament voted on and adopted a number of important coronavirus-related proposals, concerning among others workers in certain sectors (healthcare, fishermen and aquaculture farmers) as well as more flexible use of the European structural and investment funds.