Support people, preserve jobs.

SW – 11/2020

With a "second wave" hitting Europe, we are still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic with all its effects. A look at the map by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that almost the whole of Europe is in the red zone i.e. where there are 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days and more than four percent positive test results, or where the level of new infections exceeds 150 per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days. The governments of most countries have again taken restrictive measures to stem the spread of coronavirus and protect human lives.

The consequences of the pandemic for the European and global economy can not be predicted. Many companies are threatened financially and people are fearing for their jobs. The existence of non-profit institutions and provision of social services is also threatened, which means that the infrastructure could no longer be available in sufficient numbers even after the pandemic.

It very quickly became clear that some population groups would be disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic. The current issue of the Newsletter ed* by the German Social Insurance takes a closer look at the effects of the crisis on employment, participation in income support measures and policy recommendations for the period of recovery from the crisis for three of these particularly affected groups: the self-employed, first-time job-seekers and people with disabilities.

What the three groups have in common is that they often do not benefit from the short-term assistance measures provided to compensate for loss of income. For example, Member States try to prevent unemployment by activating instruments such as short-time work benefits. However, some "atypical" employees, above all self-employed persons often do not benefit from short-time work benefits.

First-time job-seekers cannot find employment and those who manage to find work are the first to lose their jobs because of the often low protection against dismissal. The International Labour Organization (ILO) warns of a "lockdown generation". Behind this lies the concern that youth unemployment could be even more serious as a result of the coronavirus crisis than it was after the financial crisis of 2008. At the end of October 2020, the Council adopted a Recommendation on the extension of the Youth Guarantee to promote the employment of young people throughout the EU, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People with disabilities are particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation, difficult access to social services and care, a lack of accessible information and a higher risk of developing more severe cases of COVID-19 besides all of the economic impacts are a few examples that show the significant impact of the pandemic on people with disabilities. In addition to maintaining personal support and participation in the workplace, the inclusion of people with disabilities in all phases of the response to the pandemic is a key requirement of all policy recommendations and will also be one of the priorities of the European Day of People with Disabilities 2020.

Even before the crisis, the three groups were considered "vulnerable" in terms of the security of their income and social security. The COVID-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the weaknesses of social protection for these groups and the need for sustainable measures.

You can find the complete newsletter ed* here.