At the end of April 2020, in the EU27 there were more than 42 million applications for support for workers on short-time work or similar schemes, which corresponds to about one quarter of the overall EU workforce. With its proposed SURE programme to provide financial support to national short-time work and similar systems, the European Commission has recognized the importance of short-time work for avoiding unemployment and supporting employees’ wages while at the same time allowing companies to adapt working hours to the drop in demand. Based on a comparison of the different short-time work schemes in Europe, this policy brief identifies some criteria for fair short-time work which enables workers not only to retain their job, but also to live a decent life.

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Ensuring fair Short-Time Work