Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 23/09/2021

Recent social policy developments in Albania and Belgium

Two new Flash reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) are now available and provide information on challenges in the Albanian social protection system in response to COVID-19 and on the Belgian 2021-2022 inter-professional framework agreement reached this year.

Illustration of company structure organization and management

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  • The COVID-19 crisis highlighted existing structural challenges in the Albanian social protection system and the need to accelerate reforms. Measures to support people and businesses affected by COVID-19 were swift and targeted immediate needs, safeguarding thousands of formal jobs. Yet they were temporary, and did not sufficiently protect informal workers, and poor and vulnerable people. Strengthening synergies between social protection and employment measures should be a policy priority.
  • In June 2021, the Belgian social partners reached an important agreement on significant increases in minimum wages, flexible overtime arrangements and reforms to end-of-career schemes. The agreement strikes a subtle balance between the priorities of both parties: employers’ organisations initially rejected increases in minimum wages, and trade unions at first opposed new steps to make overtime more flexible and wanted to secure better early retirement schemes. The agreement was facilitated by substantial financial support from the government.

The ESPN Flash Reports reflect the views only of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information they contain.

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