The COVID-19 pandemic has severely constrained hundreds of millions of workers around the world. Not only have workers been exposed to the health risk, they have also been constrained by lockdown of geographies and widespread shutdown of businesses, including the global value chains. Women are particularly affected and also susceptible to discrimination in support measures.
We, the B20, L20, and W20 welcome the commitment of the G20 Leaders made at the Extraordinary Summit on 26 March, “to do whatever it takes and to use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social damage from the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability, and strengthen resilience”, and to “ask the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to monitor the pandemic’s impact on employment.”
We call for urgent and coordinated efforts by the G20 to contain the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce.
There is an urgent need for the G20 to take coordinated and gender-sensitive response to an unprecedented global health, social and economic crisis, even while governments enact national measures.
According to the ILO, the pandemic will impact the world of work across three key dimensions:
1) The quantity of jobs (both unemployment and underemployment);
2) The quality of work (e.g. wages and access to social protection); and
3) Effects on specific groups including women, who are more vulnerable to adverse labour market outcomes.
Globally, women, that make up 70% of workers in the health and social sector, are not safe from harm and discrimination, which puts them at a greater risk of COVID-19. Protecting women in frontline responders is a key to fighting the pandemic and have access to adequate health & economic benefits.
In this context, we collectively call on the G20 Leaders to urgently act on the following:
Only coordinated, collaborative and urgent efforts will minimize the social and economic impact of COVID-19, and shorten the time to revive the global economy in the post-pandemic phase.