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    The UK’s Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that retail staff of the supermarket chain Asda can compare themselves under UK law to higher-paid distribution depot staff for the purposes of an equal pay claim. In a separate case against Tesco, the ECJ subsequently confirmed that the company’s shop workers can rely directly on EU law to compare themselves to distribution centre workers for the purposes of such a claim.


Carolyn Soakell
Carolyn Soakell is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    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.


Luca Ratti
Luca Ratti is a professor at the University of Luxembourg.
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