In 2020, the coronavirus crisis led to a decline in the labour force, a fall in employment and an increase in unemployment, with the impact on men and women differing over time. The decline in employment was strongest for temporary employees, the young, and workers with low levels of education. To cushion the blow, Member States’ governments introduced policies to support the labour market, with a particular focus on job retention schemes in the form of short-time work and temporary lay-offs. Those schemes helped to reduce firms’ liquidity needs, while allowing them to resume activity more swiftly after the lockdown by keeping employment relationships intact. These policy measures were supported by the new EU Instrument for Temporary Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE).