ILO in Lebanon issues guidance to families and other employers of migrant workers in light of COVID-19

The pandemic has compounded a political and financial crisis in Lebanon, increasing the vulnerability of migrant workers, especially those employed inside family homes.

Press release | 14 April 2020
BEIRUT (ILO News) – The ILO in Lebanon has issued a guidance brief on how to protect the rights and wellbeing of migrant workers employed by companies and migrant domestic workers employed at homes in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The health emergency relating to COVID-19 has aggravated a months-old socio-economic crisis across the country, the brief notes, critically reducing labour and social protection, particularly for the most vulnerable groups in society.

The brief explains how migrant workers are particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 health emergency. It focuses on migrant domestic workers, who in Lebanon are mainly employed inside people’s homes.

Many migrant workers in Lebanon now face conditions that greatly increase their risk of entering forced or bonded labour, the brief warns. These include a reduction or non-payment of wages, job termination without the ability to return home, an increased workload, reduced physical mobility, an inability to contact friends and family, and an inability to afford hygiene products and a healthy diet. For some of these workers, it remains unclear whether they will be able to receive treatment if they should become ill with COVID-19.

The brief recommends practical actions for employers to take to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of migrant workers, in line with the principles of integrity, gender equality and respect for diversity, all of which contribute to peace, social justice and stability in societies.

The full document is available here.