A new global study from UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has found that 98 per cent of the world’s workers are not getting the sick pay, wage replacement and social benefits they need to withstand the impacts of COVID-19.
Only ten jurisdictions (5.5%) received top ratings indicating good or very good provisions for wage replacement, medical treatment, sick pay, and death benefits.
Sick pay was available in 104 jurisdictions, meaning that almost 43% of workers had no access to paid sick leave.
Only 6% of the studied jurisdictions had presumptive rules, regulations, laws or policies that give automatic access without proof to medical treatment and wage replacement for all workers. However, when considering healthcare workers this percentage rose to 17%.
Argentina received the top score for a country, showing that strong support for workers does not depend on a nation’s wealth.
In Germany and the Nordic countries, existing legislation on infectious diseases means that workers who contract COVID-19 have automatic access to sick leave, wage replacement and medical care. No formal change was needed to the legislation to support workers. They provide some of the best examples of how a country could prepare for future pandemics.
UNI Global Union and ITUC are making five key policy recommendations to ensure better support for frontline workers:
Automatic qualification for benefits related to COVID-19 illness
Coverage for all workers regardless of the employment relationship
Reliable data collection
Inclusion of a general occupational infectious disease category in laws and policy