May 20, 2021

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News and Events from the CIRHR

Find the CIRHR at CIRA 2021: The 58th Annual Conference of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) will take place online this year from May 26 to 28, 2021. "Work and Employment in Times of Crisis: What Are the Impacts, Management Issues, and Recovery Strategies?" will feature numerous faculty, students, alumni and friends of the CIRHR.
Here are some highlights of where to find the CIRHR community.

Spotlight On: MIR & MIRHR Alumni! Our May Spotlight features Catherine Burr (MIR 1991) and Deborah Sikkema (MIR 2004). Whether you are a current MIRHR, a member of our wonderful community of alumni, or simply curious about the program, we hope that, together, these spotlights will give you a taste of the many paths our graduates travel.

New Rotman Executive Program: People Analytics for HR: The online program, led by CIRHR Assistant Professor Greg Distelhorst, is designed to teach human resource professionals—including managers and directors from both the public and private sectors—how to understand, interpret, and apply data strategically. This partnership between CIRHR and Rotman’s Executive Programs is one of many opportunities for today’s HR, labour and management professionals to continue expanding their expertise with the CIRHR.
Click here for more information and to apply.

Conflict Resolution at Work: Hosted jointly by the University of Toronto's CIRHR and Lancaster House this two-day program features proven skills and strategies for managers and union representatives. Conflict resolution has long been identified as one of the key skills that union and employer representatives must possess to be successful in their roles. Drawing from extensive research and field testing, this program will provide training in the most effective skills and strategies for resolving workplace conflict. Emphasis will be on hands-on skills training and development of practical tools.
When: Monday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Click here to register. 

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts: Mayworks is a month-long community-based festival which annually presents new works by a diverse and broad range of artists, who are both workers and activists. The programming presents bold, insightful responses to pressing issues at the intersection of art, social justice and labour. Events include: dialogue, film, music, visual arts, and encounters.
Week of May 17-24 Event Schedule
Week of May 25-31 Event Schedule

Lancaster House Summer Webinar Series: Lancaster House brings together the entire labour relations community and speakers represent a diversity of perspectives and include union and management lawyers, arbitrators, academics, and subject matter experts. These webinars provide an opportunity to join labour lawyers and subject matter experts discussing contentious, emerging, and perennially important issues in labour, employment, and human rights law. Topics include:

Call for Papers and Nominations

CIRA Executive Committee Nominations:  The CIRA  Executive Committee is currently seeking recommendations from the membership, for nominations to the CIRA Executive.  If you or someone you may know is interested in participating on the CIRA Executive, please send an email at: Nominees must: be members in good standing, indicate their willingness to stand, and have the support of at least two members of CIRA.
For information on the positions available click here.
Nominations, including confirmation regarding the candidates' willingness and the names of at least two supporting members, must be received by tomorrow, May 21, 2021.

Call for Papers: 51st Annual Conference of the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI)This year’s IALHI conference is dedicated to the role of youth movements and youth activism in broader social movements in past and present. Papers may address key areas of youth mobilization and youth movements’ patterns of organization, but also consequences of youth movements’ specificities for archivists and researchers. Papers must be submitted by June 20, 2021. 
Click here for more information on submission requirements.

Call for Proposals: The Global Labour Research Centre (GLRC): The GLRC is pleased to announce the 2021 Graduate Student Symposium: Critical Conversations in Work and Labour. Building on the tradition of GLRC annual conferences, this online series is designed to promote the scholarship of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Our goal is to create a series reflective of the wide range of themes and methodological and theoretical approaches pertaining to the study of work and labour. Please note the Symposium is open internationally. Submissions are limited to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career independent researchers. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, July 31, 2021, 11:59 pm ET.
Click here for more information on submission requirements.

Upcoming Publications and Conferences

CIRA Annual Conference: The Annual Conference of the
Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) will take place virtually Wednesday May 26, 2021 to Friday May, 28, 2021.
Topic: "Work and employment in times of crisis: what are the impacts, management issues, and recovery strategies?"
Click here to register. Registration for members is $75, registration for student members is FREE.

LERA 73rd Annual Meeting: The Labor and Employment Relations Association's (LERA) 73rd Annual Meeting will take place virtually Saturday June 5, 2021 to Tuesday June 8, 2021
Topic: "A Transformational Moment? Work, Worker Power and the Workplace in an Era of Division and Disruption"
Registration is now open! Click here to register.

19th ILERA World Congress: The 19th ILERA World Congress, Making and Breaking Boundaries in Work and Employment Relations, hosted by Lund University will take place virtually from Monday, June 21 to Thursday, June 24, 2021
Registration is now open! Click here to register.

Brave New Work Conference 2021: The Messy Middle of the Future of Work: The world of work has changed on all fronts, but what about the middle? That part of work between the leap from education into the labour market and the exit from the labour market after years of contribution, both economically and professionally. The Messy Middle is where workers between their second jobs and their second last jobs might find themselves if they experience labour disruption caused by digitization, globalization, evolving business models or a pandemic. Public Policy Forum’s Brave New Work Conference 2021 will explore the urgent policy conversation on what to do next.
When: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET
Where: Online via Zoom

Click here to register.

eBook of the Week

Punching the Clock: Adapting to the New Future of Work, by Joe Ungemah. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 203 p. ISBN 9780190061272 (ebook)

From the publisher: "Punching the Clock takes the best of psychological science to explore whether humans will effectively adapt to the gig economy and the Future of Work. Although the world of work is changing at unprecedented speed, the drives and needs of workers have not. Technology in the form of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation continues to transform jobs, taking away routine tasks from workers, both cognitive and physical alike. Work is broken down into smaller and smaller packets that can be seamlessly reintegrated into broader work products. Workers no longer need to be full-time employees or even reside on the same continent. ... Unlike the external world, the human psyche is a relative constant, which raises questions about just how much of the Future of Work can be realized without breaking down the social fabric of the workplace."

PWR: work&labour news&research

Labour Unions

Human Resource Management

Labour Policy & Legislation

Labour Economics

Management & Leadership

Health & Safety

The Future of Work

Labour Unions


Unifor Launches National Anti-scab Legislation Campaign

“Unifor is launching a national campaign calling on all elected provincial, territorial and federal legislators to enact anti-scab legislation, to restore balance to collective bargaining.”

“‘Scabs remove any incentive for the boss to bargain fairly and they tip the balance of power in favour of employers,’ said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. 'When the boss can fly in scabs, it undermines the workers who want to exercise their right to withdraw services when an employer is unreasonable.’”

“Unifor is launching a national petition calling on federal government to update Canada’s Labour Code as follows:

  • Prohibit employers from using replacement workers for the duration of any legal strike or lockout
  • Include significant financial penalties for employers who defy the legislation
  • Allow limited use of temporary workers, only to undertake essential maintenance work to protect the integrity and safety of the workplace”

“The full report has been sent to every elected federal and provincial politician and the provinces to change provincial labour legislation and includes case studies on recent disputes and interviews with workers about the impacts on families, workplaces and communities.”

Unifor, May 13, 2021: “Unifor launches national Anti-scab legislation campaign.”

Unifor Research Department, May 2021: Fairness on the line: The case for anti-scab legislation in Canada, (24 pages, PDF)

Unifor, May 2021: “Anti-scab legislation now!”

YouTube, May 10, 2021: “Anti-Scab Law Now,” by Unifor Canada, (2:18, Video)

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Human Resource Management


When Your Dream Job is a Nightmare

“People romanticize working in the media, fashion, film, fine and performing arts and other cultural industries, but the work often ends up being more drudgery than glamour. Any job, especially an entry-level position, has elements of drudgery. …This gap between expectations and the day-to-day reality of jobs is a phenomenon we’ve labelled as ‘glossy work’ in a recently published study. … For the study, we interviewed magazine fact-checkers who worked for high-status organizations in a glamorous industry while performing menial tasks every day. They experienced a kind of dissonance between their work and its setting.”

“For employees, the glossy work dissonance can spur attempts to change the actual job, frustration and a quick exit from the position. Glossy work also creates a dilemma about how to present the work and themselves to the world. How do they balance their simultaneous needs for self-enhancement and to be fully understood and authentic?”

“'Glossy work’ also comes at a cost to employers as they try to manage worker frustration and staff turnover. They can stop this vicious cycle by providing realistic job previews. This doesn’t mean they should only show the negative side of work, but they should provide an honest balance of the glamorous and less glamorous aspects of the job.”

The Conversation, May 11, 2021: “When Your Dream Job is a Nightmare,” by Lisa Cohen & Sandra E. Spataro

Spataro, S. & Cohen, L.E. (2018). Glossing Over: How Magazine Fact Checkers Use Conditional Self-Presentation to Straddle Glamour and Dreariness in Their Work. SSRN, 1-37. (37 pages, PDF), March 14, 2019: “Focus on Employee Work Passion, Not Employee Engagement,” by Drea Zigarmi & Randy Conley

Jachimowicz, Jon Michael. (2019). The Dynamic Nature of Passion: Understanding the Pursuit, Experience, and Perception of Passion. Columbia Academic Commons, 1-230. (230 pages, PDF)

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Virtual Onboarding Guides Easing New Graduates into the Remote Workforce of the Pandemic

“The coronavirus pandemic upended what starting a new job looks like, with office-wide introductions and water cooler conversations replaced by virtual onboarding guides and Zoom or Slack check-ins. But for many new grads in Canada, the process has an additional challenge: starting their first career-track job, they may not know what to expect.”

“Ms. D’Abreu [founder of Toronto-based human resources consultancy Monday Morning] suggests employers and managers clearly outline company policies and practices around time off, working hours, the dress code for virtual meetings and even smaller things that they might take for granted, such as email etiquette, managing calendars and professional conduct in meetings. Managers should also encourage young hires to ask any questions they have, she added. ‘These are things that someone new to the workforce is likely to learn organically in an in-person setting with way more ease. … We have to be more intentional about it when working remotely,’ she said.”

“[A]t [experiential learning platform] Riipen, Ms. Sameshima – who now works remotely from Vancouver – said her own experience has informed her work onboarding other new employees remotely. She helped to make Riipen’s introductory presentation more tailored to the remote experience with videos that emphasize the company’s culture and values. She and her manager also developed a user manual to help new employees navigate communicating with their managers and receiving feedback remotely. 'We were remote when I joined, but we’ve definitely learned to do the onboarding process a bit better.’”

The Globe and Mail, May 14, 2021: “Virtual onboarding guides easing new graduates into the remote workforce of the pandemic,” by Kelsey Rolfe

Willis Towers Watson, March 26, 2021: “How employee onboarding will change in a post-pandemic hybrid workplace,” by Jason Stewart, John Jones and Sara Vallas

Willis Towers Watson, February 5, 2021: 2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey

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New Working Arrangements

“Facing one of the most challenging health crises in a century, a large number of employers and businesses in Canada shifted to teleworking in early spring 2020. While pre-pandemic only 13 percent of workers teleworked, by the end of March 2020, four in 10 Canadian workers were teleworking. Similarly, the share of businesses that had at least half of their workforce teleworking grew to 51 percent by August 2020 from 12 percent at the beginning of February.”

“This report explores teleworking as a new work arrangement in Canada. We discuss the prevalence of teleworking, how workers and managers are adjusting to the rapid shift, and the inequalities in access and capacities to telework. These discussions are used to identify and highlight the skills development needed to transition to effective remote work arrangements in Canada.”

“We need to invest in skills development to bridge essential skills gaps and enable workers to telework effectively. Digital skills are the most urgent and basic ones required to work remotely. However, more attention also needs to be given to soft skills, time management skills, healthy work habits and emotional management to promote overall well-being of workers. For managers, management skills such as leading teams through a crisis, effective communication with a remote team, coaching and mentoring may be given more priority in this era of teleworking.”

Public Policy Forum, Wednesday May 12, 2021: “New Working Arrangements,” by Tania Saba, Sosina Bezu, and Murtaza Haider

Public Policy Forum, May 2021: Skills for the Post Pandemic World: New Working Arrangements, by Tania Saba, Sosina Bezu, and Murtaza Haider, (51 pages, PDF)

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Labour Policy & Legislation


How New Zealand’s New Sectoral Collective Bargaining Model Would Work in Canada

“New Zealand’s government is in the news for more than its stellar management of COVID.  This week, the government announced its intention to move forward with an interesting new model of ‘sectoral’ collective bargaining called Fair Pay Agreements. This move is attracting considerable attention in the global labour law world because sectoral or broader-based based bargaining has been floated for years as the solution to declining collective bargaining coverage in countries, including Canada and the US, that rely upon decentralized, workplace by workplace bargaining in most cases.”

“Sectoral bargaining moves the bargaining upwards to the sector or industry level and permits collective bargaining to set standards that apply to all workers in that sector or industry.  A central ambition of sectoral bargaining is to take low wages out of competition so that businesses compete on factors other than low wages, long hours, and other terrible labour practices.  Low wage sectors like retail, food and hospitality, homecare, and agriculture are among those areas that advocates argue would most benefit from sectoral bargaining.”

“However, employers are almost uniformly opposed to broader based bargaining models, as they are in New Zealand, except when they work for their own benefit (see the history of sectoral bargaining in Ontario construction).  Although some Canadian governments have explored extending sectoral bargaining to some low-wage industries…ultimately, they have backed down due to employer opposition, a lack of a unified voice from labour, and uncertainty about how and whether proposed models would work in practice.”

Canadian Law of Work Forum, May 11, 2021: “How New Zealand’s New Sectoral Collective Bargaining Model Would Work in Canada,” by David Doorey

New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), October 2019: Designing a Fair Pay Agreements System Discussion Paper, (56 pages, PDF)

New Zealand Government, (n.d.): The proposed Fair Pay Agreement system, (3 pages, PDF)

Canadian Law of Work Forum, May 2021: “Quick Summary of the New Zealand Model,” by David Doorey

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Labour Economics


Life Was Already Tough for Migrant Farm Workers. The Pandemic Made It Worse

“Seasonal farm workers are arriving by the thousands in B.C. right now. They are met at the Vancouver airport and shuttled to hotels in Richmond, where everything from the language spoken on TV to the food is unfamiliar. … ‘The food is the most problematic thing. They are getting the three meals, but the quantity and the quality are the main complaints.’ … These workers are essential to the province’s agriculture sector. But for those destined for rural farms, the jobs can be lonely and isolating, sequestering them in remote areas with limited transportation, and where few locals speak their language. The pandemic has increased worker isolation and the risks they face.”

“'When something like this emerges, where isolation is supposedly going to keep us safe, then that compounds that exploitive structure … The primary objective has always been to ensure the profitability of the industry, not to ensure the health of the workers for making that industry possible.’ Most workers decline to speak out about rights violations — either directly to their employers or to media — for fear of losing their jobs.“

”[T]he pandemic has created another layer of distance between migrant workers and the groups trying to support them. … For farmers trying to run a business, fear of an outbreak needed to be balanced with workers’ rights to access local services and amenities. At times the restrictions infringed on those rights, advocates say. Visitor restrictions on farms have impacted the ability of groups like Fuerza Migrante, Sanctuary Health and RAMA to connect with workers, increasing their vulnerability and cutting off access to supports.“

"The only way to ensure workers have access to services is to grant everyone permanent resident status, the groups say — something called for early in the pandemic by Migrant Rights Network, a collection of advocacy groups across Canada. … Most workers come under two federal programs and stay anywhere from a few months to a few years. Traditionally, the majority have come under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program … But increasingly workers are coming under the Agricultural Stream, an agreement between employers and recruitments agencies in the workers’ home country. Workers have fewer rights under this arrangement. … Fear of losing their jobs and not being invited back dissuades workers from complaining about things like poor working and living conditions, lack of access to health care and employers not following public health guidelines.”

The Tyee, May 14, 2021: “Life Was Already Tough for Migrant Farm Workers. The Pandemic Made It Worse,” by Amanda Follett Hosgood

BC Employment Standards Branch Factsheet, “Farm Workers”, (3 pages, PDF)

Disappointment, Chaos & Exploitations – Canada’s New Short-Term Immigration Pathway

“We are releasing a rapid-report today with a snapshot of 3,000 of our migrant members who filled out our survey over the last two week about the new short-term immigration pilot program announced on April 14th. Our report reveals that 1.18 million undocumented residents, refugees, students and migrants in Quebec are not allowed to apply. In addition, 45.4% of migrant workers and 34.5% of international graduates that filled out the survey are also excluded from the new program. An additional 48.27% of international graduates and 45.4% of migrant workers do not have the language test results required to apply for this first-come, first-served program.”

“This is unfair and unjust. We are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure permanent resident status for all migrant and undocumented people in the country, and ensure that all working class migrants that arrive in the future do so with permanent resident status. The current program must be expanded to include everyone without permanent status; all caps and the 6-month window must be removed; residents of Quebec must be allowed to apply; and requirements for an English language test, educational credentials, current employment, and valid immigration status must be removed. Any other inadmissibility requirements must also be removed, and the application fees waived for low-wage workers.”

Migrant Rights Network, May 4, 2021: Report: Disappointment, Chaos & Exploitations – Canada’s New Short-Term Immigration Pathway (16 pages, PDF)

Government of Canada, April 14, 2021: New pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates

Royal Society of Canada, March 2021: Supporting Canada’s COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Through Robust Immigration Policy and Programs, Full Report (90 pages, PDF), Executive Summary (3 pages, PDF)

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Gender Role Norms and Mothers’ Labour Supply

“Do gender role norms affect women’s labour market outcomes? The simple answer is yes. The interesting and important next step is to understand how this comes about. … In this debate, one dimension that has received only limited attention is the role played by culture. It has long been shown that culture affects a wide range of economic behaviours, from the accumulation of social capital and trust to entrepreneurship and savings, and from school and neighbourhood choices to female labour supply and fertility.”

“In a recent study (Cavapozzi et al. 2021), we analyse the impact of culture, defined by women’s gender role attitudes, on maternal labour market decisions. We unpack social norms by exploring the role played by peers through their gender identity and examine labour market participation, number of hours worked, and the intra-household share of paid hours worked by women. Our focus is on the response of young mothers with dependent children, due to the policy relevance of this group of women.”

“Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study from 2010 to 2014, we find that a woman whose peers have more progressive (gender-egalitarian) attitudes is more likely to work and has a greater intra-household share of market hours compared to her counterparts with more traditional peers. The magnitude of the effects is large. A one standard deviation increase in peers’ gender role norms leads to a nine percentage point increase in the probability of working (representing a 13% increase on average) and to a two percentage point increase in the share of paid work within the household (a 9% increase on average). We find, instead, no evidence of an impact on hours worked.”

Vox EU CEPR, May 13, 2021: “Gender role norms and mothers’ labour supply,” by Danilo Cavapozzi, Marco Francesconi, and Cheti Nicoletti

Cavapozzi, D., Francesconi, M. and Nicoletti, C. (2021). The impact of gender role norms on mothers’ labor supply. Journal of Economic Behaviour & Organization (186), 113-134.

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Restaurant Labor Shortages Show Little Sign of Going Economywide

“The argument that last week’s report demands a rethink of today’s policy orientation rests on claims that it contained clear evidence of damaging labor shortages induced by either too-extensive stimulus or too-generous unemployment insurance (UI). There is not compelling evidence of either of these. In fact, nothing in last week’s jobs report calls for a wholesale change of policy course from the federal government. The key takeaways from the data are:”

  • “Labor shortages—which we would define by a large acceleration of wage growth to a rate that would be hard to sustain over the next year—do seem to have popped up in the leisure and hospitality sector. But unless this dynamic threatens to spill over into other sectors or reduce growth within the leisure and hospitality sector enough to change aggregate trends.”
  • “There is very little reason to worry that labor shortages in leisure and hospitality will soon spill over into other sectors and drive economywide ‘overheating.’ The leisure and hospitality labor market is highly segmented off from other sectors, and wage pressures—upward or downward—have typically not spilled over from it to other sectors.”
  • “The labor shortages in leisure and hospitality so far do not seem to be dragging sharply on growth even within this sector—the sub-sectors within leisure and hospitality saw by far the most rapid employment growth in the last month.”
  • “Any signs that the more generous UI benefits included as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) are driving wages higher in this sector are very faint—far too faint to justify a scaling back of these benefits or to justify state-level policymakers depriving their own workers of a needed boost to the safety net.”
  • “Cutting pandemic UI benefits now, as some states have done or are considering, will not just hurt workers who are depending on federal benefits while they cannot find work or are unable to work, it will also drag on the economy, as those benefits are supporting spending.”
  • “Finally, even if overall growth were constrained by voluntary labor supply decisions made by workers, this would be far less damaging to human welfare than growth that was constrained by too-slack aggregate demand. The goal of economic policy should not be to chase as many adults into paid work as possible; it should be to provide good options and economic security for all.”

Economic Policy Institute Working Economics Blog, May 11, 2021: “Restaurant labor shortages show little sign of going economywide,” by Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz

Educational Attainment for Adults Not Working at Time of Survey, by Main Reason for Not Working and Source Used to Meet Spending Needs: United States (Excel Sheet, Download)

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Management & Leadership


Diversity Among Board Directors and Officers: Exploratory Estimates on Family, Work and Income

“Despite decades of gains in the workplace, women and equity-deserving groups continue to be underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions. A new Statistics Canada study provides the first socioeconomic profile of women executives (board directors and officers) from an intersectional lens in Canada, providing exploratory estimates on disparities by gender and visible minority status for family, work and income characteristics. … Women who reach executive roles in their careers tend to hold lower-level positions than men, or ones with less decision-making authority—patterns that are reflected in the exploratory estimates. … Furthermore, women officers were more than two times less likely than men officers to be in top roles, such as chairman or president.”

“About 1 in 10 women executives belonged to a visible minority group in the exploratory estimates, relative to about 1 in 5 women in the overall working population, reflecting their underrepresentation in leadership positions. Major visible minority groups for executives included South Asian and Chinese, while there was little representation for Black and Filipino executives. Very few Indigenous women were identified in the exploratory estimates, reaching about 1%, a lower share when compared with their representation in the working population (4%).”

“Women executives made about 56% less than men executives, as their average total income reached $495,600, relative to about $1.1 million for men. By major occupational group, wider gaps were observed for management occupations and narrower gaps for health and social science occupations, where women were relatively better represented. Visible minority women executives made about 32% less than non-visible minority women, at an average of $347,100. Even when controlling for major employment characteristics that typically explain income disparities for the broader working population, the gender pay gap and minority gap for executives remained considerable.”

Statistics Canada The Daily, May 18, 2021: “Study: Diversity among board directors and officers: Exploratory estimates on family, work and income” (5 pages, PDF)

Statistics Canada Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, May 18, 2021: Diversity Among Board Directors and Officers: Exploratory Estimates on Family, Work and Income by Léa-Maude Longpré-Verret and Elizabeth Richards, Study (33 pages, PDF), Infographic (1 page, PDF)

PWR: work&labour news&research, April 27, 2021: “Non-Profits Need to Step Up in Combatting Internal Inequities [in their boards]”

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Health & Safety


Living, Working and COVID-19: Mental Health and Trust Decline Across EU as Pandemic Enters Another Year

“The third round of Eurofound’s e-survey, fielded in February and March 2021, sheds light on the social and economic situation of people across Europe following nearly a full year of living with COVID-19 restrictions. This report analyses the main findings and tracks ongoing developments and trends across the 27 EU Member States since the survey was first launched in April 2020. … The results of the survey highlight the need for a holistic approach to support all the groups hit hard by the crisis in order to prevent them from falling further behind.”

Key Findings:

  • “Mental well-being has reached its lowest level across all age groups since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago. This is especially prominent among young people and those who have lost their job.”
  • “Existing inequalities are widening because of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups. The findings show that difficulties in making ends meet increased significantly among those already in a precarious situation.”
  • “Citizens’ satisfaction with crisis support measures has declined dramatically, with only 12% now feeling support measures are fair, down from 22% in summer 2020. Those who felt obtaining support was easy and efficient also fell from 16% in summer 2020 to 10% in spring 2021. Close to one in ten respondents have had a request for financial support rejected.”
  • “Trust in institutions has plummeted, especially trust in national governments which fell from 4.6 in summer 2020 to 3.9 in spring 2021. Trust in national governments across all Member States sank below levels recorded at the start of the pandemic. Trust in the EU also fell but remains higher than trust in national governments.”
  • “Over a quarter of people living in Europe indicate a hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccine, with men revealing themselves more hesitant (29%) than women (25%). Vaccine hesitancy is also associated strongly with low levels of trust and social media use, with countries that register low levels of trust in government registering higher levels of vaccine hesitancy.”

Eurofound, May 10, 2021: Living, working and COVID-19 (Update April 2021): Mental health and trust decline across EU as pandemic enters another year, by Daphne Ahrendt, Massimiliano Mascherini, Sanna Nivakoski, and Eszter Sándor (21 pages, PDF)

Initial Report:

Eurofound, September 28, 2020: Living, working and COVID-19, by Daphne Ahrendt, Jorge Cabrita, Eleonara Clerici, John Hurley, Tadas Leončikas, Massimiliano Mascherini, Sara Riso, Eszter Sándor (80 pages, PDF)

Eurofound, May 7, 2021: Living and working in Europe 2020, by Helen Burke (76 pages, PDF)

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The Future of Work


The EU Proposed Regulation on AI: A Threat to Labour Protection?

“In early April 2021, a draft EU Regulation on a European Approach to Artificial Intelligence was leaked to the press. … The draft Regulation, however, raised many specific concerns about the use of AI at work to be addressed urgently. …Recital 36 of the Proposed Regulation mentions that ‘AI-systems used in employment, workers management and access to self-employment, notably for the recruitment and selection of persons, for making decisions on promotion and termination and for task allocation, monitoring or evaluation of persons in work-related contractual relationships, should also be classified as high-risk, since those systems may appreciably impact future career prospects and livelihoods of these persons’. It gives heed, very generically, to the potentially discriminatory impact of AI in the world of work and the risks it poses to workers’ privacy.”

“[The regulation] provides that these systems shall be classified as high-risk and, therefore, subject to specific safeguards. At the same time, it specifies that the assessment of conformity of these systems to existing rules and safeguards will only be subject to self-assessment by the provider. This is, disappointingly, a lower level of protection than other high-risk systems that require stricter conformity assessment procedures through 'the involvement of a notified body’. … [G]iven the extraordinarily severe consequences that AI systems at work can entail, and the particular nature of workplaces, where workers are already subject and vulnerable to their employers’ extensive powers and prerogatives, it is highly worrisome that this Proposed provision was not subject to any form of social dialogue at the EU level.”

“Moreover, the Proposed Regulation seems to take for granted that if AI systems used at work comply with the procedural requirements it sets forth, these systems should be allowed. The use of AI to hire, monitor (and, therefore, surveil) and evaluate work 'performance and behaviour’ is deeply problematic. Several EU national legislations ban or severely limit the use of tech tools to monitor workers. … If adopted, the draft Regulation risks prevailing over these more restrictive legislations and triggering a deregulating landslide in labour and industrial relations systems around Europe. This is all the more serious because these national legislations often require to involve the trade unions and works councils before introducing tools allowing any form of tech-enabled surveillance and also partially ban this surveillance.”

Regulating for Globalization, April 16, 2021: “The EU Proposed Regulation on AI: a threat to labour protection?” by Valerio De Stefano

Regulation on a European Approach to Artificial Intelligence, Draft (81 pages, PDF)

European Union, April 21, 2021: Proposal for a Regulation laying down harmonised rules on artificial intelligence (Artificial Intelligence Act)

De Stefano, Valerio. (2020). ‘Master and Servers’: Collective Labour Rights and Private Government in the Contemporary World of Work. International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, 36(4). Available at SSRN: (19 pages, PDF)

Adams-Prassl, Jeremias. (2019). What if Your Boss Was an Algorithm? The Rise of Artificial Intelligence at Work. Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal 123, 41(1) Available at SSRN: (30 pages, PDF)

Blit, Joel. (2020). Automation and Reallocation: Will COVID-19 Usher in the Future of Work? Canadian Public Policy 46(2), S192-S202. (11 pages, PDF)

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PWR: work&labour news&research, formerly the Weekly Work Report (2002 – 2006), the Perry Work Report (2006 – 2014) and the Perry Work Report: work&labour news&research (2014-2016), is a weekly e-publication of the CIRHR Library, University of Toronto.

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