Giulia Giupponi, Camille Landais, 01 April 2020

Short-time work is a subsidy for temporary reductions in the number of hours worked in firms affected by temporary shocks. Evidence suggests that it can have large positive effects on employment and can be more effective than unemployment insurance or universal transfers. This column discusses how the COVID-19 crisis – with its mandated reduction in hours of work and massive liquidity crunch for firms – is a textbook case for the use of short-time work. Taking into account available evidence and the current situation, it proposes guidelines to effectively implement short-term work.

Reamonn Lydon, Thomas Y. Mathä, Stephen Millard, 19 February 2019

Short-time work schemes are a fiscal stabiliser in Europe. Between 2010 and 2013, they were used by 7% of firms, employing 9% of workers in the region. This column uses ECB data to show that firms use the schemes to offset negative shocks and retain high-productivity workers. High firing costs and wage rigidity increase the use of short-time work, which in turn reduces the fall in employment brought on by a recession. 

Giulia Giupponi, Camille Landais, 25 January 2019

Labour hoarding – the practice of retaining excess employees during a negative shock – could potentially help firms avoid re-hiring and training costs when economic conditions improve and act as a form of insurance for workers. This column uses Italian micro data to show how labour hoarding in the form of short-term work programmes can be beneficial despite being ineffective in the long term.

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