10 August 2020 | Report

The Philippines and COVID-19: Impact on the private sector


This report focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on private sector workers and employers in the Philippines. It is based on two surveys:

The first and main data source is an employee survey undertaken in May 2020, during the height of the lockdown. It investigates the general and gender-specific short-term impact of COVID-19 on private sector employees in terms of work, household dynamics and mental health.

The second data source is a small employer survey of sixteen private sector companies, which was implemented between March 31 and April 16, 2020. Companies were recruited through the Philippine Business Coalition for Women’s Empowerment (PBCWE), Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) and UN Women Philippines. Fifteen of the companies are based in Metro Manila. The survey was designed to understand the impact of the pandemic on employers and gather information on the challenges faced by private sector employers and their commitment to gender equality in the crisis.

The aim of this report is to provide insights for employers concerning the immediate impact of the crisis on the private sector. These findings will assist employers looking to better support their workforce during the next stage of the crisis period. It should be noted, that the medium-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic will not necessarily show the same patterns as the ones presented in this report and ongoing research into the impact of the COVID-19 crisis will be required to inform employers’ ongoing response and business planning.

Key Points


  • The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown had an immediate and negative impact on private sector employers and employees in the Philippines.
  • Employees report experiencing significant pressures on their financial security with almost half having either their hours of work reduced or their pay cut.
  • Pressure on domestic life has also escalated, more so for men than women.
  • The intensification of unpaid domestic care and household work is reported to have a strong negative impact on both men and women’s mental health, although for different reasons.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Section 1. Impact on Work
    • Employment change by industry & gender
    • Changes in hours, income and location
    • Productivity
    • Employer response
  • Section 2. Impact on Households
    • Domestic and income pressures
    • Household work and care
  • Section 3. Impact on Health and Wellbeing
    • Physical health
    • Mental health
  • Section 4. Employer Perspectives
    • Impact on business
    • Business challenges and responses
    • Business opportunities
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix


Learn about the impact of COVID-19 on the private sector in Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia.


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