The COVID-19 epidemic has caused the largest health crisis in a century, and it could also be responsible for some of the largest job losses in human history. When a person loses their job, they lose not only their income but their dignity, meaning, and hope. What can be done to avoid this? Read on to learn more about how governments, businesses, and communities can help those affected by the disease.
A solution to the COVID-19 crisis must be devised quickly, and must focus on income support and policies to avoid mass layoffs. Wage subsidies are essential for protecting jobs during times of temporary shortages in labor. A longer-term solution could consist of a combination of wage subsidies and active labor market policies. In the short term, a public policy response should focus on reducing job displacement and providing assistance to workers in finding new jobs.
The global economy is already suffering from massive job losses, and the COVID-19 pandemic has already wiped out 277 billion hours of paid work worldwide, equivalent to 400 million full-time positions. The most affected sectors are women. In Cote d’Ivoire, Clarisse Kouame lost her job as a pearl craftswoman. Having started her work at home, she then decided to open a store and eventually lost her job. In five years, she worked as a pearl artisan.
The immediate recovery measures should focus on income support and policies that help protect jobs during a temporary lack of labor demand. A wage subsidy is a good solution for job loss due to COVID-19. In the medium term, the policy should focus on a combination of active labor market policies and standard income support packages. When these measures are implemented, the economic situation will improve significantly, and COVID-19 will be over.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, governments and communities have managed to mitigate the economic costs of job loss in developing countries. The majority of countries have implemented job retention schemes, which will support up to 50 million jobs by 2020. This is ten times the number of jobs lost in the 2008-09 global financial crisis. While these measures will mitigate some of the effects of the virus, they should not undermine economic recovery.
During the COVID-19 crisis, 277 billion hours of paid employment will be lost. That is the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs. Those affected by COVID-19 will experience the greatest job loss among women. In addition, they will face many other hardships, and a temporary solution will not be enough to address these issues. They must take action now and find a new way forward.