Country chapters: Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Sweden

The Covid‑19 pandemic severely affected some categories of non-standard workers, and particularly the selfemployed. The emergency measures cushioned the potentially disastrous effect on their social circumstances, but undeniably highlighted even more the gaps in their access and entitlement to social protection benefits

While the first report of this joint project of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Social Observatory (OSE) mapped the measures taken in relation to unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and leave for non-standard workers and the selfemployed (Spasova et al. 2021), this edited volume comprises eight country case studies: Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Sweden.

These case studies have been produced by independent national experts. They looked into the country-specific situation regarding access to social protection for these categories of workers during the pandemic and provide a detailed description of the measures taken regarding unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and leave, as well as an initial assessment of their effects. This assessment – although currently only partial, as the pandemic measures are still ongoing and research is scarce − is a valuable contribution, describing the main issues encountered by some specific labour market groups regarding access to social protection.

Importantly, the country chapters also discuss the involvement of trade unions in the development of the recent measures, and in the country’s response to the 2019 EU Council Recommendation on access to social protection. They also consider future perspectives and ways to improve access to social protection.

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Table of contents

Social protection of non-standard workers and the self-employed during the pandemic-country chapters-2021.pdf