Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report

Source: The post is based on the article “Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report” published in The Hindu on 7th January 2023

What is the News?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released a report titled ‘Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World’.

What are the key findings of the report?

The report examines the effects that working hours and time schedules have on the performance of businesses and their employees.

Covering the periods before and during COVID-19, the report reveals that more than a third of all employees are regularly working more than 48 hours per week, while a fifth of the global workforce is labouring fewer than 35 hours per week on a part-time basis.

The report found that short-time work and work-sharing measures or other forms of job retention helped people reduce the volume of work and save jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, the system of reduced working hours and flexible working time arrangements can benefit economies, enterprises and workers and lay the ground for a better and more healthy work-life balance.

The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon has placed work-life balance at the forefront of social and labour market issues in the post-pandemic world.

However, the report also cautioned that the benefits of some flexible arrangements such as spending more time with the family may also be accompanied by greater gender imbalances and health risks. 

What are the recommendations given by the report?

Firstly, countries should continue to support pandemic-era initiatives such as inclusive short-time work schemes, which not only saved jobs but also boosted purchasing power and helped cushion the effects of economic crises.

Secondly, a public policy shift must happen to reduce the number of working hours in many countries and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Thirdly, encourage teleworking to help maintain employment and give workers more agency.

However, to contain potential negative effects, it warned that these and other flexible working arrangements need to be well-regulated, to support what is often called the “right to disconnect” from work.


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