New Developments and Beyond
Edited by Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh
Chapter 3: European diversity of work sharing as a crisis measure: The experiences of Austria, Belgium, France and the Netherlands
The member states of the European Union introduced a range of measures directly or indirectly aimed at supporting the labour market during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. These instruments were intended to help avoiding mass dismissals and minimizing the firing and (re)hiring costs for businesses. One type of measure is intended to maintain employment: it has a preventive character that aims to keep people in employment by supporting companies or providing income support for workers who have accepted pay cuts to safeguard their jobs (Messenger 2009). Work sharing as a job-preservation tool falls into this category of measures, and it has to be distinguished from measures to create employment and measures which support individuals in case of redundancy. Work sharing as a policy to combat the consequences of the economic crisis, such as rising unemployment, has become very widespread in Europe and other industrialized countries in recent years and can be described as the most comprehensive and important measure for reducing working hours in Europe in the last decade.
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