Social Protection Spotlight COVID-19

Extending social protection to informal workers in the COVID-19 crisis. Country responses and policy considerations

The COVID-19 crisis and its economic and social impacts are particularly harsh for workers in the informal economy and their families. Almost 1.6 billion informal workers are affected by the lockdown and containment measures and/or are working in the hardest-hit sectors.

The lack of social protection for workers in the informal economy and their families makes them particularly vulnerable to shocks, since they usually cannot count on the protection provided by social insurance or poverty-targeted social assistance schemes. Limited coverage impacts women in a particularly adverse manner.

This briefs presents: (i) the multiple impacts of the COVID-19 crisis for informal economy workers; (ii) the immediate policy responses taken by countries to protect informal economy workers; (iii) the lessons for the COVID-19 response and beyond.