The beginning of 2020 brought an unprecedented phenomenon for the whole world, namely the
COVID-19 pandemic that definitely affected most aspects of our life, the economic sector being
one of them.
While the pandemic affected all economic sectors, it severely impacted some of them, such as
the hospitality sector or entertainment industry, in which the activity has been adjusted or even
stopped to follow the rules for avoiding the spread of the virus. In essence, restricting the range
of individual activities through 12 Military Ordinances and starting with 15 May the ongoing
“alert period” (Decision of the Chairman of the National Committee on Emergency Situation no
24/2020, monthly extended), meant that the working life had to be adjusted to the new reality.
Working from home or working in adjusted schedules are just two consequences brought by the
pandemic on how working life is structured.

As regards the impact of the pandemic on working life, it must be mentioned that even before
the pandemic, the Romanian labour market was already facing a deep structural crisis, especially
as regards youth employment. The employment rate according to the Household Labour Force
Statistical Survey organized by the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), slightly decreased in the
second and third quarters of 2020, compared to the same quarter of 2019 (from 53.7% in the
second quarter of 2019 to 52.1 % in the second quarter of 2020). Also, the decrease was more
significant for men than for women.

In order to support the labour market integration of the disadvantaged groups such as youth and
elderly, the Government provided income support for employees aged 16-29 or over 50 years, as
well as those Romanian workers who previously worked in other EU member countries, whose
labour contract has ceased during the state of emergency and/or state of alert. In order to support
the employers in maintaining the workplaces, and to prevent the raising in unemployment, the state
offers financial support to employers who have had suspended the labour contracts of their
employees during the state of emergency or applied for technical unemployment and financial
support for home working, for the purchase of packages of technological goods and services
necessary for carrying out these activities.

However, youth unemployment topped 20% in 2021 and inactivity remains one of the highest in the EU, especially for women (female inactivity rate of 41% vs. EU average of 32%, 2020). The gender employment gap stands at over 19%, one of the highest in the EU. The persistent negative population growth and the outward migration of labour have generated significant labour shortages.

Taking the above data into account, it goes without saying the measure should be taken in order to increase young people’s chances to get a job, reduce the unemployment rate among this group, and thus contribute to the growth of the economy.

Author: HANGEA CRISTINA MARIA, Asociatia Tineri pentru Comunitate Bistrita

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  1. Eurofond, ”Industrial relations and social dialogue Romania: Working life in the COVID-
    19 pandemic 2020”,