European Employment Law Cases

Article

2020/30 Self-employment matters – the EU’s response to the lack of social protection for independent workers

Keywords Employment status, Miscellaneous
Authors Luca Ratti
Author's information

383137 Luca Ratti
Luca Ratti is a professor at the University of Luxembourg.
  • Abstract

      The recent spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how economic vulnerability varies considerably across European Member States (MSs), and so does social protection in the European Union (EU). The social and economic consequences of the pandemic have impacted asymmetrically national labour markets and exacerbated existing disparities and contradictions. A measure that most governments have introduced in the immediate aftermath has been that of making financial support available to those self-employed workers who lost fully or in part their income. Most MSs have employed quantitative thresholds to identify those self-employed more in need of public subsidies and have proportioned them according to the pre-pandemic levels of income, on the condition that they have been officially recorded as taxable revenues.
      Despite their heterogeneity, we can reasonably affirm that the self-employed have been one of the most exposed clusters of the labour market to in-work poverty and economic uncertainty, which proved to be particularly problematic in periods of unforeseeable crisis, such as that of 2008 and even more so that of 2020. This article explores the range of EU-level measures designed for the self-employed and questions their potential impact on MSs’ legislation.

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