European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case EU-2021-1/1754 – measures in European Union

The new annual programme of Public Employment Services Network

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2021 – 31 December 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to get back to normal
– Enhancing employability and training
Author Barbara Surdykowska, Institute of Public Affairs
Case created 02 February 2021 (updated 12 February 2021)

Background information

Considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) has published its 2021 work programme. The process for developing the 2021 PES Network Work Programme was based on three main sources:

  • Outcomes of the 2020 Work Programme, which included four main thematic clusters, which continue in 2021 with a strong focus on recovery after the pandemic.
  • Additional subjects brought up by the PES, including information received in the monthly update of PES responses to the COVID-19 crisis delivered.
  • Requests from the European Institutions to the PES Network.

The PES Network was established in May 2014. Its members are the Public Employment Services of all 27 EU Member States as well as Norway and Iceland and the European Commission. The core purpose of the PES Network is to promote modernisation of PES, encouraging optimum use of evolving technology and enhanced data sources, assisting them in adapting their role and function contributing to implementation of EU employment policies and strategies.

Content of measure

In 2021, the quantitative assessment of the PES benchmarking will continue as in previous years. As to the qualitative assessments, the third cycle of adapted assessments started in 2020 but was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue online in 2021 after two pilot online assessments were successfully held in 2020. These assessments will focus on change made since the first two cycles, and a new section on risk and crisis management. Adaptation to and recovery from the crisis will be the guiding topics of this year’s activities. Benchlearning, the core activity of the Network will continue in form of virtual assessments and various online mutual learning activities. Working groups, studies, webinars, surveys, review workshops and a conference will be organised around 4 thematic pillars:

  • Recovery and future of work.
  • Recovery and PES service delivery.
  • PES performance management.
  • EU PES initiatives and PES visibility.

Use of measure


Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Public employment service
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


The was no involvement of social partners.

Views and reactions

Reaction of social partners unknown.



Eurofound (2021), The new annual programme of Public Employment Services Network, case EU-2021-1/1754 (measures in European Union), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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