The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged national social dialogue and impacted on the existing frameworks and practices for the involvement of social partners in policymaking.
Time pressure in terms of consultation and engagement during this period is considered to be the main issue in the quality of social dialogue and, as a result, the involvement of social partners.
In general, social partners recognise the exceptional circumstances and constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the standard involvement frameworks and institutions in place; however, social partners take the view that the majority of governments could have done much better in this area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, where tripartite social dialogue is well established and permanent, the impact of the health crisis on the involvement of the social partners has been relatively limited.
By contrast, in many other countries, although social dialogue remained in place, it was severely restricted. In this regard, the health crisis has revealed the structural weaknesses of the social dialogue foundation in some industrial relations systems.
Since 2016, Eurofound has closely monitored the involvement of national social partners in policymaking as part of the European Semester cycle. In 2020, the focus was on their involvement during the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak. While the pandemic has presented a huge challenge to socialRead more
Since 2016, Eurofound has closely monitored the involvement of national social partners in policymaking as part of the European Semester cycle. In 2020, the focus was on their involvement during the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak. While the pandemic has presented a huge challenge to social dialogue, the results of the analysis highlight how social dialogue can be an effective tool in shaping policy initiatives and finding solutions to emergency situations affecting businesses, workers, the economy and society. It is clear that the participation of social partners in the design and implementation of national recovery and resilience plans in 2021 will be key in the recovery process and for strengthening social dialogue going forward.
Table 1: Extraordinary powers adopted to control the pandemic in Member States
Table 2: Satisfaction in the involvement of the social partners in policymaking during the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak
Table 3: Number of selected measures by category
Table 4: Income protection beyond short-time work – Views of social partners
Table 5: Employment protection and retention – Views of social partners
Table 6: Supporting business to stay afloat – Views of social partners
Table 7: Degree of satisfaction with the appropriateness of the institutional settings for effective involvement
Table 8: Time allotted for consultation
Table 9: Feedback and exchange of views
Table 10: Visibility of social partners’ views
Table 11: Quality of the processes for social partners’ involvement in NRPs
Table 12: Degree of influence of the social partners’ views on 2020 NRPs
Table 13: Social partners’ views regarding the social and labour contents of 2020 NRPs
Table 14: Social partners’ views regarding the social and labour contents of 2020 CSRs
Figure 1: Form of involvement of social partners in the design of policy measures to cushion the socioeconomic impact of the crisis (%)
Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.
This series reports on and updates latest information on the involvement of national social partners in policymaking. The series analyses the involvement of national social partners in the implementation of policy reforms within the framework of social dialogue practices, including their involvement in elaborating the National Reform Programmes (NRPs).
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