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COVID-19 and the world of work: Impact and policy responses

International Labour Organization

2020

Global

Briefing Note

Workplace Gender Equality

Gender diversity Gender equality Labour force participation Workplace Gender Equality Female labour force participation covid-19

COVID-19 and the world of work: Impact and policy responses

COVID-19 and the world of work: Impact and policy responses

This briefing note contains the International Labour Organization’s preliminary assessment of the possible impacts of COVID-19 on the global workforce.  It proposes policy options to mitigate these impacts and enable steadfast recovery.

Highlights

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to reach a large proportion of the global population.
  • The crisis has already transformed into an economic and labour market shock, impacting not only supply (production of goods and services) but also demand (consumption and investment).
  • Prospects for the economy and the quantity and quality of employment are deteriorating rapidly.
  • Swift and coordinated policy responses are needed at national and global level, with strong multilateral leadership, to limit the direct health effects of COVID-19 on workers and their families, while mitigating the indirect economic fallout across the global economy.
  • Deeper institutional and policy reforms are also required.
  • Tripartite social dialogue between Governments and Workers’ and Employers’ organizations is a key tool for developing and implementing sustainable solutions, from the community level to the global level.
  • COVID-19 will have far-reaching impacts on labour market outcomes.
  • Initial ILO estimates point to a significant rise in unemployment and underemployment in the wake of the virus.
  • Underemployment is also expected to increase on a large scale.
  • The decline in economic activity and constraints on people’s movements is impacting both manufacturing and services.
  • Underemployment is also expected to increase on a large scale.
  • The decline in economic activity and constraints on people’s movements is impacting both manufacturing and services.
  • Labour supply is declining because of quarantine measures and a fall in economic activity.
  • Working poverty is also likely to increase significantly.
  • Epidemics and economic crises can have a disproportionate impact on certain segments of the population, which can trigger worsening inequality.
  • In times of crisis, International Labour Standards provide a strong foundation for key policy responses that focus on the crucial role of decent work in achieving a sustained and equitable recovery.
  • Policy responses should focus on two immediate goals: Health protection measures and economic support on both the demand- and supply-side.
  • Pro-active, large-scale and integrated measures across all policy areas are necessary to make strong and sustained impacts.
  • Building confidence through trust and dialogue is crucial in making policy measures effective.

 

Contents

  • Current situation: Why are labour markets important?
  • Impacts: How will COVID-19 affect the world of work?
  • Responses: what are the key policies that will mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the world of work?
  • Countries in action: How have countries been responding?
  • Annex I: Estimating the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work
  • Annex II: Lessons from the past: Some key learnings relevant to this crisis

 

This document was originally published on the ILO website.

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