Geneva, Jan. 13, 2021 Home workers, who numbered 260 million before the outbreak of COVID-19, need to be protected better, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) highlighted on Wednesday.
In its latest report, ILO said that the number of home workers has risen significantly in 2020 and an estimated one-in-five workers found themselves working from home in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“Even with an end in sight to the pandemic, the trend of workers from home will likely intensify,’’ the report said.
According to the report, the situation for people working from home was worrying even before the pandemic.
Compared to their counterparts, home workers earned 22 per cent less in the U.S., 25 per cent less in South Africa and almost 50 per cent less in countries such as Argentina, India and Mexico.
They also had less social protection than people working outside their home, and less access to training which could affect their career prospects, the report said.
“The dramatic increase in working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the poor working conditions experienced by many home workers,’’ it said.
The organisation deplores a poor regulation of home working and difficulty to ensure compliance with existing labor laws.
According to the new ILO report, prior to the pandemic outbreak, home workers represented 7.9 per cent of the global workforce and 56 per cent of them were women.
The ILO called for better protections for these workers, insisting on measures such as extending legal protections, improving compliance, fair wages and a “right to disconnect’’, so as to move home workers from invisibility to decent work.