COVID-19 and the world of work

  1. The world of work is being profoundly affected by the global virus pandemic. In addition to the threat to public health, the economic and social disruption threatens the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of millions. The ILO and its constituents – Governments, workers and employers – will play a crucial role in combating the outbreak, ensuring the safety of individuals and the sustainability of businesses and jobs.

    Learn more about COVID-19 and the world of work: Impact and policy responses

The role of our social partners

Read the Joint Statement on COVID-19 by International Organisation of Employers and International Trade Union Confederation

What can workers do?
  • Efficient social dialogue at all levels is essential for quick and effective action.
  • Workers’ organizations can play an important role in participating in decision making and policies responses to the crisis on COVID-19. They can contribute to the prevention and protection of workers by giving reliable information. Workers' organizations can promote solidarity and non-discrimination / stigmatisation of workers and sick persons.
  • Since COVID-19 spreads mainly through respiratory droplets good workplace hygiene practices are essential, e.g. regular hand-washing, using hand and surface sanitiser.
  • Avoid touching your face, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. If you feel unwell self-isolate and seek medical assistance.
  • Encourage responsible behaviour, cooperate with response measures and stay calm.​


Learn more about COVID-19 and Workers’ organizations

What can employers do?
  • Monitor advice provided by national and local authorities, including on work arrangements, and communicate critical information to the workforce.
  • Assess the potential risks of business disruption.
  • Review or draw up a business continuity plan that is consistent with guidelines offered by national and local authorities to enhance business resilience and support workers and their families.
  • Identify and mitigate risks to workers and other persons connected to the workplace arising from exposure to COVID-19.
  • Promote workplace hygiene and apply the principles of social distancing in the workplace; assess business liability for workers’ compensation, particularly in sectors with high work-related exposure to COVID-19.
  • Seek advice and support from employer and business membership organizations who can channel concerns to the government and shape policy measures that are conducive for business resilience and sustainability