We are still under the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is severely testing our health and social systems, our societies and economies, and the way we live and work together.
The consequences for the European and global economy are also hard to predict. Our social security systems are being put to the test again, if not even more extensively, after the financial crisis of 2008. Companies are facing the threat of insolvency. Many people are worried about their jobs.
In Brussels, the European Commission, under the presidency of Ursula von der Leyen, is launching numerous initiatives to coordinate the containment of the crisis. In terms of the economy and the labour market, these include, in particular the “NextGenerationEU” European recovery plan for the next generation, liquidity aid for companies and the SURE (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency) instrument to continue to secure jobs.
In Germany and many other Member States, social security instruments such as national short-time working arrangements and other support packages have been implemented over the past few months. Overall, we note that countries with comprehensive and established social security structures, such as the German Social Insurance have been comparatively better able to cushion the effects of the crisis.
However, it very quickly became clear that some population groups would be disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us particularly aware of weaknesses in social security.
This is why the latest issue of ed* focuses on three of these particularly affected groups: the self-employed, first-time job-seekers and people with disabilities. We provide an overview of the impact of the crisis on their employment, their inclusion in income support measures and policy recommendations for the recovery period after the COVID-19 crisis.
We hope you find it an interesting read!
Ihre Ilka Wölfle