Due to the pandemic, the Employment Committee (EMCO) met on 17 and 18 September at the invitation of BMAS by video conference. The Employment Committee meets at regular intervals and brings together experts on employment and labour market policy from the labour and social affairs ministries of the EU member states. It analyses matters such as the situation on the labour market in the EU and exchanges views on labour market policy measures adopted by the member states. The Committee compiles reports and recommendations for the Employment Council.
In the light of current events, the approximately 50 members of the Employment Committee discussed the impacts of the pandemic on workers in the EU. They paid particular attention to supporting young people and short-time work schemes. Numerous member states have used and continue to use such schemes to keep people in work, avoid unemployment and surmount the crisis.
State Secretary Schmachtenberg emphasised this in his welcoming address to the Employment Committee:
“We have already had good experience with short-time work as a way of mitigating the effects of crises on several occasions in Germany. The Federal Government therefore decided just this week to extend the short-time work allowance scheme and meaningfully combine it with continuing education and training measures. I particularly welcome the fact that the European Commission has reacted decisively and quickly in the pandemic and is assisting the efforts of member states with SURE, the European instrument to support short-time work schemes.”
The Employment Committee subsequently consulted on its annual employment report and the key messages following from that consultation. The Chair of the Employment Committee, Ilze Zvidrina of Latvia, said in conclusion:
“We welcome the fact that the protection of workers and employees is at the top of the agenda of the German Presidency. The Pandemic is a serious challenge for employment and the labour market across the EU. This is why it is important that the EU member states discuss joint European answers.”