Covid temporary unemployment drops, but rise expected due to Ukraine conflict

Covid temporary unemployment drops, but rise expected due to Ukraine conflict

Temporary unemployment linked to the coronavirus once again fell in February as the pressure from the pandemic on businesses is easing, according to human resources provider SD Worx.

The pandemic induced temporary unemployment increased by almost 50% between December 2021 and January 2022, but in February, it fell again by almost 20%, according to an analysis of data from 70,000 employers and almost one million private-sector employees in Belgium.

"The Omicron variant had an impact on our economy and employment in January. Temporary unemployment and mandatory quarantines due to Covid increased. Short-term sickness absence also reached an unprecedented peak for January of 4.81% days lost (almost double that of January 21)," Geert Vermeir, legal advisor at SD Worx, said.

"But overall, of course, we see a decline in temporary unemployment. One year ago, in February 2021, the loss of days was still 3.94%. In the peak months of April and May 2020, we had a loss of 22% and 12.5% of days worked."

Impact from the war in Ukraine

Despite this positive trend, the conflict in Russia and Ukraine may put new pressure on employers, according to SD Worx. The government announced in light of the ongoing conflict that affected businesses can appeal to temporary unemployment through force majeure.

Related News

"Both companies affected by the corona crisis and companies affected by the conflict and its consequences can apply the familiar, simple procedure of temporary unemployment through force majeure, until 30 June," Vermeir said, adding that consequences of the conflict, such as the shortage of raw materials, among others, is overshadowing the recovery.

"We can expect another rise in temporary unemployment in the coming months," he said. SD Worx called for a simplification of the temporary unemployment procedure in light of the expected increase of companies that will be impacted by the conflict.

Latest News

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.