Essential and Non-Essential Work
One of the main issue that has been lingering in many people's minds during this pandemic is job security. There is no guarantee whether we will still be employed or loose our jobs. With the current crisis in the global economy, many employers have resorted to pay cuts, laying off staff and many business owners have closed down their businesses or scaled-down because the income that was previously supporting operations has drastically reduced or is no longer sustaining the businesses.
It is therefore important to understand the situation by looking at some elements of the economy, especially labour productivity growth, which impacts parts of material living standards such as the distribution of income. To put it into perspective, businesses exist to make profit and if they don’t, staff will not be hired. The whole idea behind lockdown measures is to stop people from moving around, including going to work, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. The current ease in these measures aim to allow businesses to continue running so that jobs can be maintained and people continue living their lives, at least close to normal.
Around the world, critical systems have been disrupted, specifically supply chain and healthcare. Employees have a major cost factor in businesses especially those that rely on personal interactions like healthcare, and jobs in many essential services. Unfortunately, we have a crisis in the healthcare industry where employees are often on strikes and forced out of useful jobs because they don’t get paid enough to sustain themselves and their families.
This is the reason why many governments are ill-prepared to respond to COVID-19, and the pandemic has highlighted that many jobs are not essential yet we lack key workers when things go south. As much as the pandemic has highlighted serious deficiencies in the current system, a radical change is pertinent to enable us to build better systems that will be resilient in the face of future pandemics.