It’s been a tough virus era for the self-employed workers: Here’s why

Research finds working hours of self-employed workers saw a significant drop during the crisis period

The era of the coronavirus has brought in much impact to the livelihoods of people around the world. The successive lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the governments have come about as a bolt from the blue not just small businesses but also the workers they have employed.

Even tougher has been the conditions of the self-employed individuals around the globe. The self-employed have been found as the most-hit section of people as the virus spread without any pause.

It has been found that working hours of these self-employed people saw a significant drop during the crisis period. A study published by economists Ron Diris, Egbert Jongen and Olaf van Vliet from Leiden University in the journal Economisch Statistische Berichten has brought to the fore the impact they virus had on self-employed workers.

Average work hours of self-employed workers saw huge dip

It found that average hours worked reduced most at the start of the crisis, by more than five hours per week. The researchers analysed the work hours of self-employed workers till June of 2021. That means the ongoing restrictions have not been incorporated.

Though many others had managed to shrug off the virus blues in the quarters that followed, the self-employed workers found it difficult to return to their pre-crisis hours.

Comparing the conditions of those employed in various businesses, the self-employed workers saw no light at the ned the tunnel as they lived on hoping to see a change. In fact, as the research paper states, the trouble that the self-employed faced is totally opposite to what the employed had faced.  For the employees of various jobs, the effect of the coronavirus crisis was limited, the study has said.

Working hours majorly hit

However, when even when the restrictions and lockdowns had eased, the self-employed workers found it difficult to find hours of work as they used to during the pre-Covid days. More concerned were the self-employed workers who had found jobs in the culture and recreation sector. As per the research, the self-employed workers in the culture and recreation arena found 10 fewer hours per week. This against the 29.9 hours per week during the pre-virus times of year 2019 is a huge let down.

Meanwhile, the business services segment saw its self-employed workers experiencing a huge drop in work hours, but fortunately they were able to recover from the crisis soon after the first few months. This could be attributed to their ability to switch to working online and from remote locations.

This was not easy for the semi-skilled and unskilled self-employed workers though, as they had to wait for a relief to get back work hours as they used to be.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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