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Employment and Social Developments in Europe Quarterly Review analyses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the self-employed

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The European Commission has published the March 2021 edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review, with a thematic focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the self-employed. The review shows that this group has experienced a strong reduction of their working time and more severe income losses than employees in most member states. National social protection systems typically provide lower coverage and compensation for the self-employed. In the context of the pandemic, most member states have introduced temporary measures to support the income of the self-employed, in addition to short-time work schemes and similar measures accessible for workers, which were supported by the SURE instrument. This support took many different forms, including low interest loans, paid family leave, extended coverage of sickness benefits and income replacement. Overall the review shows that job-saving measures proved effective and improved the resilience of the labour market. In the last months of 2020, the number of people in employment increased moderately and unemployment remained stable.

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “In most countries and across a broad range of sectors, the self-employed have experienced particularly steep cuts in working hours and income. The Commission has launched a range of measures to support workers and employers during the crisis. SURE has been a very successful instrument in protecting jobs and incomes, including for the self-employed. We also presented EASE, a Recommendation on Effective Active Support to Employment, which provides concrete guidance to member states on policy measures to support a job-rich recovery.”

The full report is available here.

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