COVID-19 drives wages down, women and lower paid workers affected



A new report by the International Labour Organisation () has found that monthly wages fell or grew more slowly in the first six months of 2020, as a result of the , in two-thirds of .

Among the affected groups, women and lower paid workers have been affected severely.

The impact on women has been worse than on men. For example, estimates based on a sample of 28 European countries found that without wage subsidies, women would have lost 8.1 per cent of their wages in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 5.4 per cent for men.

The crisis has also affected lower-paid workers severely. Those in lower-skilled occupations lost more working hours than higher-paying managerial and professional jobs. Using data from the group of 28 European countries the report has revealed that without temporary subsidies, the lowest paid 50 per cent of workers would have lost an estimated 17.3 per cent of their wages.

Without subsidies, the average amount of wages lost across all groups would have been 6.5 per cent. However, wage subsidies compensated for 40 per cent of this amount.

In countries where strong measures were taken to preserve employment, the effects of the crisis were felt primarily as falls in wages rather than massive losses. The Global Wage Report 2020-21 shows that not all workers have been equally affected by the crisis though.

“The growth in inequality created by the COVID-19 crisis threatens a legacy of poverty and social and economic instability that would be devastating,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Our recovery must be human-centred. We need adequate wage policies that take into account the sustainability of jobs and enterprises, and also address inequalities and the need to sustain demand.”

The report includes an analy

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