Global labour landscape: public health and employment crisis

According to ILO, the COVID-19 epidemic was changed from a public health disaster to an employment and social crisis. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on worldwide public health, employment, and daily life. In this scenario, a lack of comprehensive policy initiatives exacerbates inequality and limits overall workplace growth.

Among the most significant labor-market outcomes, we can recall:

1. Because many firms, particularly micro and small businesses, have already gone bankrupt or face a highly uncertain future, this has an impact on the business sector, which generates the majority of jobs.

2. In 2020, an estimated 8.8 percent of all working hours were lost — the equivalent of 255 million full-time workers working a year. Furthermore, the global labor shortage will have grown by 144 million jobs. By 2020, an additional 108 million employees will be severely or moderately poor, living on less than $3 a day. The number of jobless persons is expected to climb from 187,000 in 2019 to 230,000,000 by 2020. Unemployment will rise as the working-age population expands and GDP expands slowly.

3. Informal laborers have also been disproportionately affected by the recession. In 2019, about 2 billion people – or 60.1 percent of the global workforce – were working informally. Working from home has exacerbated inequities between the global North and the global South.

4. The crisis has the potential to endanger progress toward gender equality. 90% of women who lost their employment in 2020 left the labor force, implying that their working lives will be disturbed. Many young people have been affected by the crisis at a vital juncture in their life, impeding their transition from school to employment. In 24 of the 33 nations having data, the proportion of young people not in work, education, or training grew between 2019 and 2020. Sectors depending on seasonal migrant workers struggled to sustain workforces in destination countries.

5. In this scenario, inadequate vaccine coverage and economic constraints would stymie employment development in low- and middle-income countries.

To address the fragility and unevenness of social and economic situations, a firm governmental response is essential.  Indeed, governments must alleviate long-standing job shortages and promote a human-centered recovery should promote a fair transition, gender equality, and vibrant labor markets.

In order to avoid long-term harm to global economic and social consequences, a comprehensive and coordinated human-centered policy strategy is required. As important drivers of the recovery, governments should guarantee that nations have appropriate budgetary flexibility and credit availability. Among other initiatives, ILO´s human-centred recovery should seek to:

(1) Foster broad-based economic development and productive employment by investing in industries that can provide good jobs while also fostering a fair transition, gender equality, and dynamic labor markets.

(2) Encourage proactive labor market policies, public employment services, and high-quality public health care to aid people most impacted by the crisis.

(3) Increase social protection to promote formalization and ensures that all employees have the right to free association, collective bargaining, safe and healthy working conditions and enough minimum wages.

(4) Encourage social conversation in order to develop and implement human-centered healing solutions to resolve workplace concerns such as occupational safety and health.

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