It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic and social hardships all around the world. The impact of COVID-19 on the health of people worldwide cannot be overstated. To make it even worse, it occurred parallel to a year plagued with climate-induced catastrophes. For instance, East Africa recently faced a massive food shortage due to the worst locust invasion they had received in 70 years. Also, the cyclone in Eastern India caused up to $13.2 billion in damages, and worse, rendered an estimated 500,000 people homeless.
While everyone around the world certainly feels the impact of the COVID-19 virus in their lives, there is a particular group of people that have it worse – the more than 2 billion people who rely on informal jobs as their source of income.
Statistics show that at least 3 out of 5 people globally that rely on the informal work sector for their sources of income are already finding it difficult to afford to feed in countries with high unemployment rates. Since the informal sector largely operates outside of government income regulation and taxation, it is challenging for this sector to seek government assistance. Most informal workers have very small to zero savings and are considered to be living on the precipice of disaster. Therefore, in the event of an emergency like the coronavirus, most of them do not have any emergency funds to fall back on, homelessness is likely to follow.
In countries like India, Guatemala, and Fiji, informal workers make up 88%, 80%, and 60% of the workforce in these countries, respectively. While a lot of government and non-governmental agencies are designing and setting up aid programs such as pandemic-related aids and climate finance to target the informal work sector, there are several challenges plaguing these programs.
Some of the Challenges
One major challenge that the governments have with reaching informal workers is the lack of bank accounts. It was found that most informal workers do not have bank accounts, and this makes it difficult to transfer funds to them. Also, since many of them do not pay income taxes, it makes tax breaks an ineffective tactic to alleviate their financial burdens. This means that government relief efforts are likely to reach the formal sector in countries like India, Guatemala, and Fiji, rather than those in the informal sector who need it the most.
Also, a lack of accurate and updated data on informal workers about their location and other personal information further hinders efforts made to help them.
It is therefore important to design financial stimuli that keep the informal segment of the workforce in every organization and country in mind. It is, therefore, essential to build on existing schemes and financial frameworks to ensure that most informal workers get the help they need.
To ensure that your premises, equipment, and workstations are properly disinfected, you should hire the services of professional disinfection companies like SafeFromSpread. SafeFromSpread uses safe and industrial-grade hydrogen peroxide solutions to get into the tightest spaces and sanitize areas that typically aren’t touched by wiping down with rags.
To Build Back from COVID-19, Don’t Overlook Informal Workers (2019). World Resources Institute: https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/12/build-back-covid-19-don-t-overlook-informal-workers