The economic and social crisis, which began with the shutdown of a significant portion of China’s economy and the disruption in the global supply chain, has now spread around the world as restaurants, retailers, airlines, public schools and factories close or sharply curtail operations.
In an initial assessment report of the impact of the virus, the ILO stated that the effects will be far-reaching, pushing millions of people into unemployment, underemployment and working poverty. It also noted that turning to self-employment in the informal economy, a typical method of maintaining some form of income during economic crises, is less possible because of the restriction on the movement of peoples and goods.
The crisis will also lead to a vast expansion of underemployment as working hours and wages are reduced.
There have already been widespread layoffs in manufacturing, arts and entertainment, hotels, airlines and service industries throughout the world.
The organization called for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and support jobs and incomes.
Such measures should include extending social protection, supporting employment retention through short-time work or paid leave, as well as financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, ILO added.
The ILO and its constituents, Governments, workers and employers will play a critical role in combating the outbreak, ensuring the safety of individuals and the sustainability of businesses and jobs.
ILO has proposed measures for a decisive, coordinated and immediate response in the report.