Precarious workers pushed to the edge by COVID-19

If you are a freelancer, who pays your sick leave? If you work in a retail store on a zero-hours contract and the store closes, are you out of luck?

Most media reports on the employment effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have focused on the possibility of lay-offs and the financial consequences for employees. There has been less discussion on what happens to those workers who are not officially laid off, but whose contracts are not renewed, whose hours are whittled to zero, or whose employment agency simply tells them sorry, there is no more work available. Depending on the country, the worker may not be covered by unemployment insurance or other critical protections, such as paid sick leave.

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