Revising EU Employment Guidelines in light of Covid-19

MEPs also demanded further strengthening of the ERASMUS+ mobility programme

Photo: EP Jose Gusmao.

In a resolution adopted by the EP's Employment and Social Affairs Committee and drafted by Jose Gusmao (GUE/NGL, PT), MEPs urged EU countries to take radical measures to cushion the employment and social shock caused by the pandemic. They insisted the Commission to revise the Employment Guidelines to take account of the consequences of the pandemic and better respond to future crises.

Wage subsidies, income support, extending unemployment benefit schemes and paid sick leave as well as carers' leave and arrangements to work from home are among the measures proposed in the resolution. The lawmakers said that the fight against youth unemployment, homelessness and poverty must be prioritised through a reinforced Youth Guarantee, a strong Child Guarantee for tackling child poverty and the Housing First approach.

According to the MEPs, only companies that are not registered in tax havens, respect the applicable collective agreements and that do not pay dividends or bonuses can apply for financial assistance from the SURE mechanism for short-time work. A European permanent unemployment reinsurance scheme, expected towards the end of 2020, is welcomed by MEPs. They consider that the length of time that the 'General escape clause' will apply, which gives Member States fiscal flexibility during severe economic shocks, has to “reflect the dimension and duration of the Covid-19- crisis”.

MEPs also demanded that Member States support fair labour mobility throughout Europe as well as strengthening further the ERASMUS+ mobility programme.

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