In view of the tremendous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on European societies, economies, employment markets and social systems, Lucia ĎURIŠ NICHOLSONOVÁ (ECR/SK), Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), declares:
« The European Union and its Member States need to respond with extraordinary measures and without hesitation to face the unprecedented challenges that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic brings about for our societies and our economies, labour markets and social systems.
While many sectors of the economy and many of our citizens are facing a massive increase in unemployment, job losses, a decrease in working time and loss of income, other sectors see major challenges to ensure continuity and protect the safety of their workers. Certain sectors might also be at risk of shortages of staff given the temporary restrictions of the movement of workers.
We also need to take a closer look at uncoordinated national measures that affected people who live in one Member State and work in another, a situation that applies to 1.3 million vulnerable cross-border workers. I would welcome clear guidelines or recommendations from the European Commission laying down straightforward criteria for Member States to provide social benefits and wage compensation to those cross-border workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is particularly important to support the working parents who keep our health systems and other important services running and help them find child-care solutions. Member States should ensure, together with employers, to allow that if one parent is a healthcare professional, caregiver, member of the armed forces or the police, the other parent should be entitled to working from home or at least working part-time to take care of the children.
All companies affected by the corona crisis, including small and medium enterprises, should receive adequate support. Emergency measures should be taken to help the entire workforce, including those with precarious jobs as well as the self-employed.
In view of this unprecedented situation, the EU and its Member States need to cooperate much more efficiently to contain the spread of the coronavirus and fight the negative socio-economic consequences together. The most important benefits of the EU, such as free movement and the single market, can only be fully safeguarded if we succeed to protect the health and safety of all our citizens in all Member States equally. «