How has Covid-19 affected posting of workers in the construction sector? Insights from the EMEcs EU report

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The Covid-19 pandemic turned upside down everyday life for people and companies. The severity of the virus and the reaction by public authorities differed country by country, but how has the pandemic impacted on workers moving from a country to another for a limited time to perform works there?
The first comparative report of the EMEcs project, available at this link, departs from country reports addressing Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain to answer this question from the perspective of workers and companies active at transnational level in the construction sector, one of the most affected by international mobility.
In a nutshell, across covered countries, the sector seems to have been marginally impacted by COVID-19 in terms of overall employment and production levels, with the partial exception of Spain. Nevertheless, also in the light of restrictions to travel, available data on workers sent to perform a service abroad for a limited time (the so-called posted workers) highlight a slowdown in cross-border mobility during 2020.
The report points out shortage of materials, difficulty to access up to date information on restrictions in force, especially these introduced abroad, and to the need to reorganise activities pursuant to new rules to tackle COVID-19 as the main obstacles faced by construction companies due to the pandemic.
This has often meant the need to prolongate works, and, in case, the duration of posting. Together with quarantine rules upon entry and other restrictions to travel, like partial closure of borders, this affected as well the possibility for posted workers to come back home by the expected time or for brief periods during holidays.
Information gaps are highlighted also for posted workers, yet the report flags as well some good practices meant to promote measures to observe in the construction site to prevent the spread of the virus with materials in foreign languages or using pictures to ensure wide understanding.
Among other main findings, the report points to deficiencies in accommodation and transport solutions offered by companies, aspects particularly relevant for posted workers and entailing high risk of contagion in the absence of proper distancing.
At the same time, in some areas companies faced difficulties to find enough suitable facilities, for instance due to peaks in demand of rooms by tourists following the lifting of restrictions.
Cases of COVID-19 outbreaks identified in some covered countries tally with these findings, suggesting the virus might have spread in shared dwellings before that in the construction site itself.
The report further explores these aspects with data, qualitative findings, and comments, preparing the ground for the analysis of measures and tools meant to improve working conditions, health and safety, and social protection of posted workers, to be addressed in the forthcoming EMEcs EU Handbook and EU Discussion paper.