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COVID-19 unleashed the pent-up potential for telework. Over a third of respondents to Eurofound’s online survey of Europeans in April had started teleworking because of the pandemic. Never before had so many people been working from home. For people with disabilities, telework has long been viewed as the ideal solution to removing many of the barriers to their participation in the open labour market. But it has not lived up to its promise and people with disabilities remain strongly disadvantaged when it comes to employment. Does the current embrace of telework by employers offer a second chance?
Minimum wages, one of the cornerstone issues for Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission, were a hot topic in the EU at the beginning of the year. Then the COVID-19 public health crisis struck. Now, with an economic crisis and recession looming, the question is not only what impact the crisis has had on minimum wage earners, but also what is the impact on the debate itself. How can the European Commission and Member States ensure minimum wages that are fair and provide a decent standard of living during and following a ‘black swan’ such as the Coronacrisis?
Although EU law guarantees equal treatment for all among its founding principles, discrimination in the EU is not a thing of the past. Across Europe, 2% of workers report experiencing discrimination at work linked to each of the following: ...
The COVID-19 health crisis prompted governments to take the unprecedented step of shutting down all workplaces, apart from those providing essential goods and services, to control the spread of the virus. Every worker who was able to do so began to work from home, initiating a social experiment of a type and on a scale unseen before. The world of work will never be the same again. This event has accelerated the transition from a regular, bureaucratic and ‘factory-based’ organisation of work to one based on flexible task allocation and management by objectives. While these new-minted teleworkers are certainly better off than those who have lost their job or are at risk of losing it, there are downsides to the experience too.
While women appear to be more resilient than men to COVID-19 in terms of health outcomes, that is not the case when it comes to the economic and social fallout. Measures taken by governments to control the spread of the virus are exacerbating gender divides in unemployment, domestic labour and financial security, all to the disadvantage of women. Meanwhile, work–life conflict is escalating as people work from home, with mothers of small children often bearing the brunt of the impact.
While we now know that the idea that ‘COVID-19 only affects older people’ is fake news, the first weeks of the pandemic have shown that young people are in general more resilient than older people to the disease. But are they also more resilient to its social and economic impacts?
The impact of COVID-19 continues to create chaos in people’s lives across Europe and the world. The economy is heading towards another major dip, and a sense of general insecurity pervades. The daunting challenges confronting health services and projections on the long-term impact of the crisis dominate the discourse in the media – and with good reason.
But what do we actually know about how the pandemic is affecting us all? How are Europe’s citizens really experiencing this crisis, beyond the graphic drama of individual disease, death and macroeconomic concerns?
A debate has started in Italy about the support that the state should provide to undeclared workers operating in the informal economy during the COVID-19 crisis. Nunzia Catalfo, Italy’s Minister of Labour in April stated that ‘undeclared work should not exist’ but went on to acknowledge ‘it is a plague that exists’ and that the state has an obligation to provide for all those who have been left without an income in the current emergency. However, this is not an easy step for governments to take, and much is at stake in bringing undeclared workers into the social security fold.
On 2 April, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new fund of up to €100 billion to support EU Member States to introduce short-time working or similar schemes, including for the self-employed, in an effort to saf...
‘Digital transformation’ has been a buzzword in policy circles for some time now, and commitments to making it work for citizens, business and society as whole abound. Brussels has been no exception – the European Commission presented...