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WEC-Europe statement on COVID-19 crisis

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses an unprecedented, major challenge to economies and societies around the world and it has also severely impacted the private employment services industry. The members of the World Employment Confederation-Europe are actively mobilised to mitigate the impact of the crisis and call out to safeguard work by protecting people, the labour market and the economy.

Published on 30th March 2020

The global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an unprecedented, major challenge to economies and societies around the world and it has also severely impacted the private employment services industry. As the core service within the sector, agency work has been particularly hit. While in many sectors the use of agency workers has been reduced drastically due to lock-down measures (manufacturing, hospitality, construction, non-food retail), some other sectors are desperately looking for staff to meet the challenges ensuing from the crisis, such as healthcare, transports & logistics and retail.

At this stage, containing the pandemic and servicing people is the top priority for the private employment services industry. Members of the World Employment Confederation-Europe have been highly pro-active since the outbreak of the crisis, informing workers and companies on management of health and safety risks and securing equal access to support measures for agency workers (e.g. sick leave, short time work). Some of the initiatives implemented across Europe include:

  • In Italy, a collective labour agreement has been signed by social partners from the agency work sector: ten million euros have been allocated from a solidarity bipartite fund to protect the continuity of employment and pay of agency workers.
  • In Germany and Austria, short-time working schemes have already been triggered by the private employment services industry to ensure, with the financial support of public authorities, that agency workers remain in employment and do not lose their jobs.
  • In the Netherlands, the industry has developed an on-line platform for its members to share and reallocate workers suddenly out of work and with assignments in urgent need of workers.
  • In Spain, the industry has announced to offer free training and job programmes for citizens in Spain, including those who are unemployed.

The World Employment Confederation-Europe welcomes the efforts taken by the EU institutions and calls for a strong, coordinated response with the EU Member States. Read more in our statement about how we can work together to overcome the crisis and safeguard work by protecting people, the labour market and the economy.

topics: COVID19
content types: News
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