Self-employed workers rarely get any systemic/analytical attention from policymakers and business analysts. Despite their huge importance in modern economies. This especially applies to the current environment, impacted by COVID19, in which policy tools used to offer some security of income and jobs tenure as an insurance against the pandemic have been focused almost exclusively on protections and supports to regular employees and employers, leaving the self-employed outside the safety nets.
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Germany’s ifo Institute did some interesting research on the topic of self-employed and the impact of COVID19 on them. ifo’s study found that 66% of the self-employed “recorded declines in sales” during the pandemic, as opposed to just 20% of those in more secure workforce positions. Per ifo: “…the vast majority of blue- and white-collar workers and civil servants (80 percent) have not suffered any loss of salary as a result of the coronavirus crisis”. Furthermore, “More than half (61 percent) of the self-employed were unable to work at all or worked only to a limited extent during the pandemic. … Among the self-employed, it has particularly affected women who are single parents, 85 percent of whom had to reduce or completely stop their activities. Among dependent employees, meanwhile, it is low earners, secondary school graduates, and blue-collar workers who have suffered the most.”
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