The March 2021 edition analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on the self-employed. The review shows that this group has experienced a strong contraction of their working time and more severe income losses than employees in most Member States and across a broad range of economic sectors. National social protection systems typically provide lower coverage and compensation for the self-employed.
However, in the context of the economic downturn brought by the coronavirus pandemic, most Member States have introduced temporary measures to support the income of the self-employed, in addition to short-time work schemes and similar measures accessible for workers. The way in which this support has been delivered varies significantly across countries, reflecting differences in welfare systems, the specificities of self-employment, but also the diversity of the relevant categories of workers.
The review points to the overall resilience of the labour market, supported by job-preserving measures. In the last months of 2020, the number of people in employment increased and unemployment remained stable. Social benefits and other transfers contributed to supporting households’ income.