The crisis is far from over for informal workers – We need an inclusive recovery for the majority of the global workforce – World

Through:

Sarah Orleans Reed, Michael Rogan, Erofili Grapsa, Ghida Ismail, Marcela Valdivia

Dated: November 2021

COVID-19 Crisis and the Informal Economy – Global Findings, Round 2
Policy Snapshot 8

In The crisis is far from over for informal workers – we need an inclusive recovery for the majority of the global workforce, WIEGO presents the main conclusions and policy recommendations of the second round of the study on the COVID-19 crisis and the informal economy led by WIEGO.

In mid-2021, WIEGO and its partners re-interviewed 1,391 first-round respondents (87.5% of the sample) and 213 new respondents (13.3% of the sample) to measure longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the livelihoods of domestic workers, homeworkers, street vendors and waste pickers in 11 cities.

The main conclusions of round 2 are:

Most respondents did not regain the ability to work. The average number of days worked per week was only 4 in mid-2021, still significantly below 5.5 in the pre-COVID period.

Incomes of informal workers surveyed are still well below their pre-pandemic levels. By mid-2021, the typical worker was earning only 64% of their pre-COVID earnings. Four in ten (40%) domestic workers, street vendors and waste pickers still earned less than 75% of their pre-COVID earnings in mid-2021.

Homeworkers remain by far the most affected sector. In mid-2021, typical incomes for this group were only 2% of pre-pandemic levels, reflecting the depth of devastation in this predominantly female industry.

Food insecurity threatens urban workers. Almost a third of those polled in mid-2021 said that an adult and / or child in their household had been hungry in the past month. 57% reported problems with dietary diversity and / or skipping meals.

Access to relief is not improving and could be in decline. Access to government cash assistance has stagnated and the percentage of respondents who have received food assistance has declined since the first three months of the pandemic. The percentages of workers who received a reduction in rent, utilities, and / or tuition were single digits.

Governments could do more harm than good. 48% of those surveyed needed capital to return to work, but only 9% used government assistance grants for this purpose, and only 7% received government loans. Conversely, more than a quarter of street vendors and market traders and 16% of waste pickers reported being harassed by law enforcement.

The crisis has forced workers to adopt harmful survival strategies. In the 12 months leading up to the 2021 survey, respondents were forced to borrow money (46%), dip into already meager savings (35%), or cut household spending on non-household items. food (26%) and food (23%).

Most informal workers are on the wrong side of global ‘vaccine apartheid’. By mid-2021, most respondents in the Global South were lagging behind their counterparts in the North in terms of immunization rates, although there was an encouraging increase in the immunization rate in India in September October.

See the executive summary.

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