Statutory labour market instruments to support shortened working time at companies hit by the crisis, often interacting with collective agreements, have proved to be an effective instrument to cushion the employment impact of the crisis in a number of European countries. This success highlights, however, the vulnerability of employees in the other countries, especially the new member states, where no such solutions exist. Trade unions have a strong case to demand the creation or expansion of such instruments. Yet short time working schemes can give a temporary relief only and need to be upgraded in two main ways. First, workers on atypical work contracts need to be included; second, the instrument needs to be given a more future-oriented character by incorporating training provisions.