The European Commission (EC) released a Recommendation on “an effective active support to employment following the COVID-19 crisis” on 4 March 2021. This document provides EU Member States and relevant stakeholders with a series of recommendations for a gradual transition from the emergency measures taken to preserve employments during the sanitary crisis, to a new framework aimed at fostering a long-term recovery. Job creation should be focused on relevant sectors including the digital and green areas. EU Member States are encouraged to use the EU financial instruments available under the NextGenerationEU as well as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). With the help of those tools, the European Commission invites EU Member States to develop a series of policies actions (policy packages) addressing the labour market challenges triggered by the COVID-19 crisis.
The policy packages tailored by the EU Member States for an effective active support to employment should include the following three main components:
- Hiring incentives and entrepreneurial support
- Upskilling and reskilling opportunities
- Enhanced support by employment services
- Hiring incentives and entrepreneurial support. EU Member States are encouraged to use hiring and transition instruments supporting the creation of quality jobs and the employability of workers. They should accompany labour market transition from declining to expanding sectors, namely the green and digital economy. Specific safeguard measures should be adopted to ensure that the newly created jobs are maintained after the incentives are expired. According to the European Commission, the strategies implemented at national level should include a strong training component and take into account the regional dimension and local labour market needs. Particular attention should be granted in an inclusive manner for those coming from under-represented and disadvantaged groups.
2. Upskilling and reskilling opportunities should be put in place by EU Member States through comprehensive strategies for the different economic sectors. Additionally, they should enhance the cooperation among companies, social partners, education and training institutions, public employment services and other relevant stakeholders in line with the Pact for Skills. The European Commission also recommends that quality assured training and career guidance be assured by EU Member States and that recognition and validation of learning and experience gained out of the formal education paths is promoted.
3. Enhanced support by employment services can be achieved through incentives for business aimed at effectively promote the creation of quality jobs. In particular the European Commission suggests that EU Member States pay individualised support to jobseekers and address specific attention to young people, in particular those entering the labour market and to countering gender bias and other forms of discrimination. The European Commission recommends, inter alia, that public employment services have sufficient operational capacity to provide and contribute to the different forms of support. More specifically, in the area of the hard-to-reach long term unemployed or inactive youth, in cooperation with the social services. The European Commission recommends that EU Member States make use of the financial instruments available at the EU level, such as the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Just Transition Fund, the European Global Adjustment Fund (EGF), the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU), the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, and the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) to design and implement EASE measures.
Member States should promote a job-rich recovery, encourage skills development and support people in their transition to new quality jobs, in accordance with the following guidelines: