In 2010 before COVID-19 the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that there were 7.9% or around 260 million workers in the world who worked at home and now it is much higher. The ILO report says that about 90% of informal work is done in their homes. They produce items that cannot be machine-made, such as garments, handicrafts and assembling electronics.
ILO senior economist Janine Berg said that the people who produce these traditional industrial products are not counted and easily exploited. “They don't have social protection. They are more prone to being exposed to health and safety risks. Some of them work in unsafe positions, for example it can cause muscle problems. Their income is below the minimum wage. Their working hours are very difficult to predict. Sometimes they work in a very intense time. But sometimes without a job at all. So all this instability exists, "he wrote in an official statement, in Jakarta, Saturday (16/1/2021).
In the northern hemisphere, the report found an increasing number of middle-class workers also worked from home. This includes those who are allowed to do their usual work from home or teleworkers, and digital platform workers based at home. Berg said they are worse off than those working outside the home.
“Again, you are working from home. There are challenges of social isolation. There is a risk of worsening working conditions over time, even if there is a professional white collar worker present. And because we work at home, we are less likely to be part of a union. Tend not to have a voice or dialogue with management to overcome some limitations in working conditions at home, "he said.
The ILO report says high-skilled professional workers earn less on average than those who work in offices. For example in the UK, those who work from home will earn 13% less than those who work in an office. Meanwhile in America it is 22% lower and in India it is 50% lower.
The ILO says those working from home will continue to increase in the years after Covid-19. It added that there should be better laws to protect those who work at home. The ILO recommends establishing an employment register of homeworkers and a system for monitoring their working conditions.