COVID-19 and the world of work

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.

News | 18 March 2020
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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.​


What can employers do?


    • Educate the workforce and communicate regularly with employees
    • Reinforce good hygiene practices and take related safety precautions
    • When feasible, appoint an emergency management team
    • Monitor developments on a daily basis
    • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send sick employees home
    • Be mindful of the many different laws and policies implicated that relate to the coronavirus and its impact on the workplace and prepare contingency plans
    • Suspend or limit business travel
    • Quarantine potentially exposed employees
    • Consider having non-essential employees work remotely