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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure EU-2020-19/1153 – measures in European Union

Ensuring business continuity and protection of workers in private security service during COVID-19 pandemic

Country European Union , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 08 May 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
Author Barbara Surdykowska and Eurofound
Measure added 17 September 2020 (updated 18 September 2020)

Background information

The EU social partners in private security namely the Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS) and the European Services Workers Union (UNI-Europa) welcomed fact that the European Commission and many European governments have officially recognised private security as “essential services”. However, in their opinion too often private security workers remain invisible. For this reason, they decided to agree on a set of recommendations for public authorities.

Parties to the declaration:

  • UNI Europa is a European trade union federation, which represents more than seven million workers and 320 affiliates in 50 different countries.
  • CoESS acts as the voice of the private security industry, covering 21 countries in Europe and representing two million guards, over 45,000 companies. The private security services provide a wide range of services, both for private and public clients.

Content of measure

According to the social partners the status of "essential services" should prompt public authorities to rethink how to purchase security services and value a sector that aims to put the health and safety of workers and citizens first. CoESS and UNI Europa, share the common goal of ensuring business continuity when the provision of private security services is essential, as well as keeping staff in a safe working environment.

The recommendations of the social partners concern the following issues:

  • better recognition of private security as essential services;
  • access to personal protective equipment;
  • financial and administrative support to struggling businesses and workers;
  • best value procurement that respects important quality criteria;
  • improving contracting practices;
  • adequate removal of barriers for the redeployment of workers;
  • ensure that cash continues to offer access to payment for all because cash payments are currently stigmatised and restricted in many shops, although it is particularly vital to marginalised groups of people.

Use of measure

There is no information on the use.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
EU level social partners
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


The own initiative of social partners.

Views and reactions

Fully supportive.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      N - Administrative And Support Service Activities N80 Security and investigation activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Protective services workers


  • 30 March 2020: COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION COVID-19 Guidance on the implementation of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, on the facilitation of transit arrangements for the repatriation of EU citizens, and on the effects on visa policy (
  • 08 May 2020: Joint Declaration Ensuring business continuity and protection of workers in the COVID19 pandemic (


Eurofound (2020), Ensuring business continuity and protection of workers in private security service during COVID-19 pandemic, measure EU-2020-19/1153 (measures in European Union), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.