The impact of COVID-19 on domestic workers in Africa

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on employment and working conditions across the globe (ILO 2020a). Already a sector characterized by low wages, excessive working hours, occupational health and safety hazards and the absence of social security, domestic workers’ conditions became even more precarious (IDWF 2020). This study explores how the pandemic affected the lives of domestic workers and their families on the African continent. Drawing on 3,419 surveys across fourteen African countries, it addresses the following questions:

  • What was the impact of lockdown measures on domestic workers’ working conditions?
  • What kinds of State support did domestic workers receive during the lockdown period?
  • What alternative sources of sustenance did domestic workers turn to in the absence of State support?
  • How have domestic workers navigated the ongoing occupational health and safety hazards of intimate work during the pandemic?
  • ow can the experience of domestic workers during the first waves of the pandemic shape State policy, employer and union responses towards a post-pandemic recovery?

Full Report

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Executive Summary

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Research Result

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