EESC asks for 2020 Employment Guidelines to be adapted in the face of Covid-19 pandemic

The EESC has welcomed the Commission's proposal on revised employment guidelines for Member States, but asked for the guidelines to be adapted to take account of the looming employment and social crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and to help cushion its adverse effects on Europe's labour markets.

The EESC suggests that for this year the possibility should be exceptionally considered of introducing an additional extraordinary or emergency guideline that would help EU countries adjust their employment policies to the current unprecedented circumstances.

Such an emergency Covid-19 employment guideline could include references to efficient temporary measures needed to mitigate the impact of the crisis, such as short-term work arrangements, income support, extension of sick pay or the promotion of remote working while respecting employers' responsibility for the health and safety of the employees.

EESC's suggestions were put forward in an opinion on the Commission's proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for employment policies of the Member States, published just before the outbreak of Covid-19. The EESC opinion was adopted at its plenary session, held remotely on 7 May. 

"The economic shock caused by the Covid-19 outbreak may have a severe and long-lasting impact on European labour markets. A strong social dialogue is essential for any employment policy and more needs to be done to facilitate and promote social dialogue, both at national and European level," said the rapporteur-general for the opinion Ellen Nygren. (ll)