Saving jobs and protecting incomes: from national schemes to a European double safety net

Policy Study

25/09/2020

Job-saving schemes predicated upon the tenets of short-time work have been successful in preventing mass redundancies, long-term unemployment and business closures. We posit that, for as long as this exceptional health crisis persists, governments should not give up on their duty to provide a safety net for millions of workers who are still affected by the slowdown of aggregate demand across the continent.

This paper presents an appraisal of the newly created SURE instrument. This is welcomed as a positive step towards the attainment of anti-cyclical stabilising mechanisms on a supranational level. However, we are clear in elucidating the limitations of this new scheme. It is limited to loans and, most importantly, its scope is constrained to those jobs that can be saved. More therefore needs to be done in light of the impending economic crisis.


SURE cannot be misconstrued as a satisfactory end but rather as a window of opportunity for more ambitious progressive politics. A European unemployment reinsurance scheme is gaining increasing momentum and indeed we make a strong case for its prompt implementation. The shock-driven recovery is already underway in the form of a strengthened safety net for European working families. However, recovery needs to be followed by transformation, and policymaking at a European level can contribute decisively to the formation of a double safety net underpinned by the guiding principles of solidarity and social justice.

Read the FEPS Covid Policy Response paper N.8

 

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