One in six young people in the EU has lost their job because of the economic consequences of COVID-19. This was reported by the European Trade Union Confederation.
According to the data, in September 2020 youth unemployment in the EU was 17.1% and increased significantly in several countries. These include Spain with 40.5%, Italy – 29.7%, France – 19.6%. In Bulgaria, the jobless rate is 18.3 percent, the confederation said.
“The COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation of young people who are not employed, not educated or trained. Their numbers, especially in countries such as Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, are growing. This includes the most vulnerable people at high risk of marginalization, poverty and permanent exclusion from employment market,” the experts write.
The crisis hits particularly hard workers in “non-standard forms of employment”, such as part-time or temporary employment. They are often not eligible for sick leave, unemployment benefits or protection schemes.
In October 2020, the European Council adopted a Recommendation on a strengthened youth guarantee – a bridge to jobs. Member States undertake to ensure that all young people under the age of 30 receive a quality job offer, continuing education, apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of being out of work or completing their education. However, it is unclear how many Member States will follow these recommendations
The European Commission admits that European youth is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and calls for social protection systems to also target young people. It is not yet clear how much of the €750 billion recovery funds will be invested in youth, the ETUC said.
The Confederation urges for the restoration of youth employment. And they propose that social partners and young trade unionists be involved in the development, monitoring and evaluation of national recovery plans.
The youth structures of trade unions must be informed and involved in the process of shaping European and national recovery plans. The updated European Commission guidelines to member states’ national recovery and sustainability plans require them to conduct a broad consultation, including with youth organizations. Transparency must be ensured: young people deserve to know how their government meets their needs and how it spends the money.
In their view, specific measures should be developed to restore young people and workers to non-standard forms of employment. This is because these workers have little or no access to social protection. This must be addressed in national recovery plans. All workers and young unemployed should have access to social protection, trade unions say.