Connect with us

coronavirus

COVID-19 triggered important changes in working time, but overall trends appear the same

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to important changes in working time regulation across the EU with the emergence of greater flexibility in short-time working schemes; the adaptation of working time regimes to telework; and temporary derogations from working time regulations mostly to ensure the continuous functioning of essential services. However, despite economic restrictions significantly reducing working time in a number of sectors, overall trends do not fully reflect this due to the polarisation of working time in different sectors; with some workers left with little to do due to restrictions, and others facing burnout due to long working hours and arduous demands.Eurofound’s new report Working time in 2019-2020 documents the most relevant changes in working time regulation after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including short-time working schemes, and approaches to telework for those able to work from home.

It also details policies and regulations to ensure the safe ongoing provision of essential services by workers continuing to work on site, including temporary regulations implemented under state-of-emergency provisions that led to the relaxation or derogation of labour rights in relation to working hours, rest and leave provisions. Extended working hours, limitations on rest periods and provisions to delay annual leave were applied in the health, care, transport and logistics sectors across the Union, including in Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal.The report shows that in 2020 the average collectively agreed working week in the EU stood at 37.8 hours – longest in Malta, Greece, and Croatia (40 hours), and lowest in France and Germany (35.6 hours).

On a sectoral level, the collectively agreed normal working week was shortest in public administration (38 hours) and longest in transport (39.2 hours).
Despite the fundamental changes that COVID-19 brought to the labour market, and associated pressures on individual sectors, the data for overall usual weekly working hours of full-time employees continued to decrease at a broadly consistent pace in most member states, ranging from a reduction in 0.1 Slovenia to 0.3 hours in Austria, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. In Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands, usual weekly hours in 2020 remained the same as in 2019. Data also show that the difference between member states that joined prior to 2004 (the EU14) and those that joined in or after 2004 (the EU13) remained stable at around 1 hour less, a constant since 2011.

Click here for background data.

Collectively agreed annual working hours also reflect the continued differences between member states. While full-time workers in the EU27, as per collectively agreed normal working hours, should have worked 1,703 hours on average in 2020, this was lower at 1,665 hours in the EU14 and higher in the EU13 at 1,809 hours. Hungary and Poland, where collective bargaining does not have a relevant role in regulating working hours, had the longest annual working hours, the equivalent of nearly seven weeks more than their counterparts in Germany, which had the shortest collectively agreed annual working hours.

Click here for background data

The report also shows the dividend of collective agreements for workers in terms of paid holidays. While the minimum paid annual leave entitlement in the EU is 20 days, some member states have increased this minimum entitlement through legislation or by collective agreement. If entitlements established through collective bargaining are factored in, the average annual paid leave stood at 24.5 days in the EU-27. This is higher in the EU-14 (25.6 days) than in the EU-13 (21.4 days).

Advertisement

Speaking on the publishing of the report, Eurofound Executive Director Ivailo Kalfin emphasized that the analysis of changes in the labour market and working time regulation in the research is an important contextualisation of broader trend data: "This report offers vital data with regards to working time trends and continued disparities in collectively agreed working time between member states, but equally important is the analysis that complements this trend data, which considers the significant labour market disruption and changes in working conditions that we have seen in Europe during this period."

Download the report

Further information

Advertisement

Share this article:

coronavirus

First suspected case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in Switzerland

Published

on

By

The first probable case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Switzerland, the government said late on Sunday (28 November), as the country tightened its entry restrictions to check its spread, writes John Revill, Reuters.

The case relates to a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa around a week ago, the Federal Office for Public Health said on Twitter.

Testing will clarify the situation in the coming days, it added.

Switzerland has ordered that travellers from 19 countries must present a negative test when boarding a fight to the country, and must go into quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Advertisement

The list includes Australia, Denmark, Britain, Czech Republic, South Africa and Israel.

Swiss voters on Sunday backed the government's pandemic response plan by a bigger than expected majority in a referendum, paving the way for the continuation of exceptional measures to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases. Read more.

Some 62.01% voted in favour of a law passed earlier this year to provide financial aid to people hit by the COVID-19 crisis and laying the foundation for certificates giving proof of COVID-19 vaccination, recovery or a negative test. These are currently required to enter bars, restaurants and certain events.

Advertisement

Share this article:

Continue Reading

coronavirus

Biden warns against Omicron panic, pledges no new lockdowns

Published

on

By

US President Joe Biden (pictured) urged Americans on Monday (29 November) not to panic about the new COVID-19 Omicron variant and said the United States was working with pharmaceutical companies to make contingency plans if new vaccines were needed, write Susan Heavey, Alexandra Alper and Jeff Mason.

Biden said the country would not go back to lockdowns to stop the spread of Omicron, and he would lay out his strategy on Thursday (2 December) for combating the pandemic over the winter. He urged people to get vaccinated, get boosters and wear masks. Read more.

"This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic," Biden said in remarks at the White House following a meeting with his COVID-19 team.

"We're going to fight and beat this new variant," he said.

Advertisement

Biden said it was inevitable that Omicron cases, which were first detected in southern Africa, would emerge in the United States. He said officials were still studying Omicron but believed that existing vaccines would continue to protect against severe disease. Read more.

Biden said his administration was working with vaccine makers Pfizer (PFE.N), Moderna (MRNA.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) to develop contingency plans.

Travellers wait to process through a security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before the Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington, U.S. November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers an update on the Omicron variant at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

"In the event, hopefully unlikely, that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool," he said.

Advertisement

Biden said he would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to "use the fastest process available without cutting any corners for safety to get such vaccines approved and on the market if needed."

A U.S. travel ban took effect earlier on Monday blocking most visitors from eight southern African nations from entering the country. Earlier flights from South Africa to the U.S. did not screen passengers after the variant was found. Read more.

Biden said the travel restrictions were put in place to give the country time to get more people vaccinated.

Vaccine hesitancy in the United States and around the world has thwarted public health officials' efforts to get the pandemic under control.

Just 59% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, although almost 70% now have at least one dose. Nearly 782,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to a Reuters tally.

Much of the United States shut down in early 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, but economic activity and jobs have bounced back in recent months. Face masks and vaccine mandates are opposed by some Republican politicians, even as health experts tout their effectiveness. Read more.

Share this article:

Continue Reading

coronavirus

Commission hosts second matchmaking event to speed up the development and production of COVID-19 medicines

Published

on

Today (30 November), the Commission is hosting a pan-European matchmaking event to accelerate and upscale the development and production of COVID-19 medicines in Europe, as part of the actions under the EU Strategy on COVID-19 Therapeutics. Following a first matchmaking event on COVID-19 medicines in July 2021 and a previous matchmaking event on COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021, this event aims at strengthening the participation of EU companies in value chains for COVID-19 therapeutics and speeding up connections among the participants. It also broadens the focus: from therapeutics specifically used to treat COVID-19, to also including those used to treat the symptoms of COVID-19, as well the production of disposable materials, such as syringes, and ingredients needed for making such medicines.

The event gathers companies from the European Economic Area as well as other businesses and organisations included in the portfolio of 10 most promising treatments, presented by the Commission in the follow-up to the COVID-19 Therapeutics strategy. In order to facilitate matchmaking events, the Commission issued a comfort letter in March 2021 (based on the Antitrust Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 8 April 2020) providing guidance, relevant also for this event, on how the matchmaking and exchanges between participating companies, including direct competitors, can take place in compliance with EU competition rules. The matchmaking event is organised by the Commission's Task Force for industrial scale-up of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, in close co-operation with the European Cluster Collaboration Platform. The event is also hosted in partnership with the Council of European BioRegions (CEBR) and the European Cluster Alliance (ECA), which are supporting the Commission in running an EU survey to assess EU capacities for COVID-19 therapeutics production. More information about the event is available here.

Share this article:

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending