Protecting Livelihoods in the COVID-19 Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of European Labour Market and Social Policies

Seemann A, Becker U, He L, Hohnerlein Maria E, Wilman N. Protecting livelihoods in the COVID-19 crisis: A comparative analysis of European labour market and social policies. Global Social Policy. June 2021. doi:10.1177/14680181211019281

Posted: 17 Jun 2021

See all articles by Anika Seemann

Anika Seemann

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Ulrich Becker

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Linxin He

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Eva Hohnerlein

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Nikola Wilman

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

Date Written: June 6, 2021

Abstract

This article provides a comparative study of the labour market and social policy measures introduced in light of the COVID-19 crisis in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom between March 2020 and January 2021. Its main aim is to understand whether the crisis response has changed the structures of the welfare states concerned. Focusing in particular on the differences regarding the crisis measures taken for individuals in ‘standard employment’ and ‘non-standard workers’ in each country, it argues that, although extensive temporary protection instruments were introduced for both groups during the crisis, these did not lead to an immediate convergence as regards these groups’ social protection. Rather than changing the underlying structures of welfare systems, many of the measures in fact highlighted the specific vulnerabilities of large segments of Europe’s labour markets. States have, however, granted social compensation at unprecedented levels, which could result in improved infrastructures and a clearer understanding of the responsibility of the welfare state in future emergencies.

Keywords: Compensation, non-standard work, self-employment, social policy, solidarity, welfare state

Suggested Citation

Seemann, Anika and Becker, Ulrich and He, Linxin and Hohnerlein, Eva and Wilman, Nikola, Protecting Livelihoods in the COVID-19 Crisis: A Comparative Analysis of European Labour Market and Social Policies (June 6, 2021). Seemann A, Becker U, He L, Hohnerlein Maria E, Wilman N. Protecting livelihoods in the COVID-19 crisis: A comparative analysis of European labour market and social policies. Global Social Policy. June 2021. doi:10.1177/14680181211019281, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3863183

Anika Seemann (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy ( email )

Amalienstraße 33
München, 80799
Germany

Ulrich Becker

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy ( email )

Amalienstraße 33
München, 80799
Germany

Linxin He

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy ( email )

Amalienstraße 33
München, 80799
Germany

Eva Hohnerlein

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy ( email )

Amalienstraße 33
München, 80799
Germany

Nikola Wilman

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy ( email )

Amalienstraße 33
München, 80799
Germany

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