January 2021 News

Covid-19 and the sandwich generation: how do we care for the carers?

 In the last year, the way Covid-19 has tested government resources and increased unemployment has made family support even more crucial. This is manifesting in increased strain on both time and finances for the sandwich generation. A key question is how its economic impact will delay young people’s progress toward important life and financial milestones, which will feed into their ability to function independently later on. 

Virtual working life:  

Video chat is helping us stay employed and connected. But what makes it so tiring – and how can we reduce ‘Zoom fatigue’? Then there’s the fact that aspects of our lives that used to be separate – work, friends, family – are all now happening in the same space. When these aspects are reduced, we become more vulnerable to negative feelings. 

Why virtual team-building activities feel agonizing: The words ‘team building’ may stoke fear in our hearts at the best of times, but during a pandemic, they often mean several extra hours on Zoom – something we could all live without. 


COVID-19 and Precarious Employment: Consequences of the Evolving Crisis


With the world facing an ongoing pandemic and economic downturn, workers find themselves trapped in precarious employment (PE). This article calls attention to 5 critical global consequences of the crisis among workers in PE.


December 2020 News

  • We need a global reskilling revolution: More than 1 billion jobs are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade, according to OECD estimates. As jobs are transformed by the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to reskill almost one-third of all jobs worldwide by 2030. In the next two years – by 2022 – 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. In addition to high-tech skills, specialized interpersonal skills will be in high demand, including skills related to sales, human resources, care and education. 
  • Why skills – not degrees – will shape the future of work: While our parents likely held one job for life, most of us have had several – and not just jobs but careers, too. Clearly, the future of work will not be about college degrees; it will be about job skills. However, if we shift our focus from degrees to skills, we’ll enable a bigger workforce that represents the diversity of our populations, and will help close the all too familiar opportunity and employment gaps. Interestingly, the future of work will not only be about hard skills; it will be about holistic job skills.  

November 2020 News

Living, working and COVID-19 - Eurofund:

This report tries to capture the far-reaching implications of the pandemic for the way people live and work across Europe. The report is divided in three parts focusing on the impact of the pandemic on people´s lives, working during the COVID-19 pandemic and support measures and their roles. Major findings were:  

  • Increases in working hours and lower levels of job insecurity reported in July compared to April. However, large inequalities between specific groups across the EU have emerged.  
  • Over half of unemployed respondents did not receive any official financial support since the outbreak of COVID-19, forcing many to rely heavily on informal support.  
  • Young people are emerging as some of lockdown’s biggest losers who, along with those out of work, report the lowest levels of well-being.  
  • The pandemic has also affected the work–life balance of women more than men, with women impacted more in terms of reduced working hours and young women more likely to lose their job than men.  

Remote working –The new normal: 

How will working from home affect the world of work after the pandemic?More and more companies across the globe are already planning for permanent remote working (cnn business, business insider). This opens a discussion on salaries, which are likely to change in order to match local costs of living (facebook pay cuts).  A recent publication “Teleworkability and the COVID-19 crisis: a new digital divide?” discusses the extent of teleworking in the EU before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, develops a conceptual analysis to identify the jobs that can be done from home and those that cannot, and on this basis quantifies the fraction of employees that are in teleworkable occupations across EU countries, sectors and socio-economic profiles.  

Impacts of minimum wages, review of the international evidence: 

More and more countries are discussing and/or introducing minimum wages. Thisreview comparing wage and employment changes across demographic and regional groups, finds small impact on employment and hours from the 2016 introduction of the National Living Wage. Overall, existing research therefore points to a muted effect of minimum wages on employment, while suggesting that minimum wages significantly increase the earnings of low paid workers. Especially for the set of studies that consider broad groups of workers, the overall evidence base suggests an employment impact of close to zero. These ex post evaluations point to a much more modest impact on employment than often assumed in prospective simulation studies.  


October 2020 News

Governments worldwide are adopting a range of ad-hoc schemes, including paid furloughs, cash transfers and family support to cope with the current crisis. But what are the limitations to such supports and what can be done?  

“Financing gaps in social protection Global estimates and strategies for developing countries in light of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”:

This ILO working paper has just been released in October. This paper provides updated regional and global estimates of the costs and financing gaps for targets 1.3 and 3.8 of the SDGs relating to social protection and health care in 2020 and projections of incremental financial needs for reaching universal coverage in 2030. The estimates incorporate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financing gaps for both social protection and health care in 2020 and, to a lesser extent, its projected effects in 2021.—ed_protect/—soc_sec/documents/publication/wcms_758705.pdf

“Social protection for migrant workers: A necessary response to the Covid-19 crisis”:

Migrant workers are often over-represented in some of the sectors hardest hit by the crisis (hospitality, domestic work), while at the same time they also face more health-related risks as they often carry out essential jobs such as in health care, agriculture and agro-food processing. Even if It is widely recognized that migrant workers are major contributors to social and economic development, they face specific challenges in accessing social protection, including health care and income security, making them more vulnerable to the health and socio-economic impacts caused by COVID-19.—ed_protect/—soc_sec/documents/publication/wcms_748979.pdf

Covid-19 and Social Protection: 

Even before COVID-19, 69 per cent of the global population was either not covered, or only partially covered, by social security. With the current ad-hoc schemes nothing is done to change the underlying circumstances of all the millions of vulnerable workers and individuals worldwide, and no action is taken to put them in a better standing to face future crisis.–en/index.htm


September 2020 News

“COVID-19: The devastating impact of a health and economic crisis on those operating in the informal economy”:

This policy brief from ILO, discusses how the informal sector worldwide has been affected by the pandemic. You can have a look at it at the following link—ed_protect/—protrav/—travail/documents/briefingnote/wcms_743623.pdf  

Gig workers – employed or self-employed? 

The fight to regulate the position of gig workers in the labor market may be slow, but it´s starting to shape across several countries. Here you can read more of ongoing discussions and what has been recently ruled out in Italy, Spain, France during this year.   

“Riders, the ongoing debate about delivery workers in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency”

“Spanish Supreme Court rules food-delivery riders are employees, not self-employed”

“France Considers New Protections for Gig Worker ‘Invisibles’”

Recruitment of non-standard workers:

We are ready to start the recruitment of non-standard workers and those workers that are unemployed due to covid-19. Each of the participating countries (Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Chile, USA and Canada) will share during the upcoming days the questionnaire within their network. Let´s try to reach as many people as possible, so everyone is encouraged to share the questionnaire within your own network.   


May 2020 News

“The experiences of health-care providers during the COVID-19 crisis in China: a qualitative study” Qian Liu et al. (2020):

This qualitative study uses an empirical phenomenological approach to describe the experiences of health care providers recruited from five COVID-19-designated hospitals in Hubei province. Link:–anvuBKARoiRybVc02Frg9x_PdqI4Hvvh85XLA-2XElHtyGgu6cvQz0u4UmmWAGG7iyqn1e8pnzygibG6za-5uiOBySIc4LWNpsi_7DT1hqtl5eWc&utm_content=88693030&utm_source=hs_email  

“Google Rescinds Offers to Thousands of Contract Workers”:

Google, facing an advertising slump caused by the pandemic, has rescinded offers to several thousand people who had agreed to work at the company as temporary and contract workers, affecting more than 2,000 people globally. Link:  

“The COVID-19 pandemic: lessons on building more equal and sustainable societies

Barneveld et al. (2020): in this discussion paper the focus is held on the pandemic’s disastrous worldwide health impacts And on how the flow-on economic impacts have simultaneously created major supply and demand disruptions, and highlighted the growing within country inequalities and precarity generated by neoliberal regimes of labour market regulation. Link:  

“Labour market change: trends and policy approaches towards flexibilization”

Eurofound (2020): This flagship report addresses trends and policy developments in relation to the flexibilisation of employment in the EU between 2008 and 2018. Labour markets in the EU are diversifying in terms of working time patterns and the nature of employment relationships. This report was researched and produced before the onset of the COVID-19 virus. A limited number of key messages and policy pointers have been added on the basis of the findings which could be useful for policymakers as they seek to address the range of issues which will emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic.  


April 2020 News

Understanding the health and safety implications of the gig economy:

This British study focusing on who gig workers are, performed a literature review focusing on both traditional academic papers and also reputable publications in the so called “grey literature”. Here you can find the pdf:

The DE-grading Epidemiology (DEEP) Network: 

If interested, join the DEEP network. The network aims at encouraging open debate about the use of algorithms to assess epidemiological studies, and maintain contacts between those of us who are working on these issues. You can join DEEP at the following link: