Rapid Assessment of the Situation of Informal Workers in Tajikistan

Rapid Assessment of the Situation of Informal Workers was presented to the National Tripartite Commission in Dushanbe on 7 July 2022. The documents underlines the the need for a set of comprehensive legal, policy, awareness raising and enforcement measures that in synergy contribute to a reduction of informality.

News | 07 July 2022
The quantitative and qualitative survey covered the period from December 2021 to March 2022 and included interviews with 800 informal workers in sectors with high prevalence of informal employment, focus group discussions and interviews with key policy makers, workers and employers associations representatives.

The survey was conducted by LLC “Tahlil Va Mashvarat” based on the methodology developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment, Federation of Trade Union of Tajikistan, and Union of Employers of Tajikistan.

The objective of the exercise was to identify the impact of COVID-19 on informal workers and their families as well as developments in the post COVOD-19 recovery period.  It seeks to give voice to women and men who depend on the informal economy so that their situation is taken into account in the development of employment, social protection and formalization policies. The survey also aimed to better understand the diversity of their situations and perceptions about trust in and accountability of institutions in order to inform the government, social partners, informal economy organisations and other entities concerned.

According to the survey results, the pandemic had little effect on the change of the employment status of the informal workers. Absolute majority (ninety-two percent) of informal workers who participated in the survey have reported that they continue working in the same informal employment status. During the peak time of the pandemic (May-August 2020), well-being of informal workers and their families deteriorated: about seventy-five percent of respondents reported that their earnings decreased. The main reasons were reduced number of work hours or days (54.9 percent) and the closure of the enterprise (26 percent).

When comparing current earnings with pre-pandemic, 35.9 percent of respondents experienced a decrease in earnings, but this number has decreased when compared with the peak time of the pandemic, when 75.1 percent of respondents had a decrease in earnings.  The income of 22.6 percent of respondents increased compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Social protection coverage has been identified by survey respondents, particularly those over 40 years old and those with higher educational level and higher earnings as critical. Women are more likely to formalize employment relationship and participate in the state social security programmes. This gender aspect of formalization is robust with regards of both categories of workers – individual entrepreneurs and employees.

Nisso Temurova, member of the Federation of Trade Unions, stressed the need to improve the Labour Code and increase the culture of social insurance and taxation in general. Ayombek Akramov, Deputy Chairman of Union of Employers of Tajikistan, reiterated employers’ commitment to increase the awareness of business community about norms and standards already specified in the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan.

“Up-to-date information provided by the survey, as well as recommendations proposed by the social partners during the discussion, will be reviewed by the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment and it will guide the design of the new Action Plan for Reduction of Informal Employment as the current expires in 2023,’’ said Abdugaffor Rakhmonzoda, First Deputy Minister of Labour, Migration and Employment.