COVID-19 and the world of work

Global impact and policy recommendations

Our regularly updated assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on economies and labour markets, together with policy recommendations for lessening its effects and aiding a fast recovery.

Last updated: 18 May 2020
  1. Current situation


    In June 2019, the ILO’s 187 member States adopted the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, calling on the Organization to pursue “with unrelenting vigour its constitutional mandate for social justice by further developing its human centred approach to the future of work, which puts workers’ rights and the needs, aspirations and rights of all people at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies”.

  2. The ILO’s policy framework to respond to the COVID-19 crisis

    The present crisis is quite different from previous ones. The impact of the lockdowns adopted to mitigate the pandemic has vastly surpassed that of the initial trade shocks and of the travel restrictions introduced soon after the outbreak (these restrictions had significant but mainly sector specific impacts).

  3. Pillar 1

    Stimulating the economy and employment

    The COVID-19 crisis impacts on both the demand and the supply sides of the labour market, and it has major implications for the goal of ensuring full employment and decent work. In particular, the crisis is pushing many families into poverty and increasing existing inequalities.

  4. Pillar 2

    Supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes

    Efforts to contain the spread of the virus have disrupted production flows, caused demand for non-essential goods and services to plummet, and forced enterprises around the world to suspend or scale down operations.

  5. Pillar 3

    Protecting workers in the workplace

    While many people have lost their jobs and income, many others continue to work. Making sure that work can be performed safely is a shared priority.

  6. Pillar 4

    Relying on social dialogue for solutions

    The lessons from previous global crises have shown that governments alone cannot address the challenges stemming from strong shocks. 

  7. Conclusion

    COVID-19 continues to spread across the world with a trajectory difficult to predict. The health, humanitarian and socio-economic policies we implement will determine how quickly and strongly we recover.