Figures from Eurostat show that the impact of coronavirus has been particularly detrimental for temporary workers who account for 80% of the total decrease in employment during 2020. Temporary contract employment in the European Union fell by 11% during the second quarter of 2929, compared with less than 3% for total employment.
Youth employment has been particularly hard-hit with their share of temporary contracts changing from 46.2% to 42.7% for people ages 15-24 whilst it decreased from 11.6% to 10.2% for those aged 20-64.
According to Eurostat, the decline in temporary contracts was visible in all EU Member States, apart from Lithuania and Denmark. The most substantial shrinkages were found in Latvia, Bulgaria, Malta, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece and Slovakia, where the decrease exceeded 20%.
None of this is surprising given that, by their very nature, temporary contracts are exactly that – temporary. Of course businesses that engage temporary workers will lay them off if they are no longer needed due to the pandemic. However the disproportionate scale of the impact on temporary workers (80% of the decrease in employment) is higher than expected, and does illustrate that temporary work can unfortunately be precarious. The lack of stability for temporary workers is a fundamental element of working in this way, and in normal circumstances this brings significant benefits and choice to both parties. Once the exceptional pandemic situation has passed, we expect the economy to once again be reliant on all independent workers, and that temporary workers in particular will be invaluable in supporting the UK’s recovery.