Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 or Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, many companies are taking precautions against the impact and spread of the virus. The government also plans to close restaurants, bars and hotels nationwide along with non-essential stores. Companies are asking their employees to work from home for their safety. The Coronavirus outbreak has forced companies to slow or halt their physical operations, impacting production in the upstream sector. Meanwhile, downstream operations are upgrading their systems and pushing to work more flexibly. Many industries such as tourism, hospitality, retail, forestry and transport industry, etc. are facing great troubles. While many companies now allow their employees to work at home, telecommuting isn’t an option for many people. Restaurants also had to close except for pickup and delivery service. Also, vehicle manufactures Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are suspending production until the end of March.
But many people are unable to work due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as their job or work profile does not allow this work flexibility. This is just making employers cut the jobs as the employers cannot pay the wages. This situation is really severe in many countries. Now, the Coronavirus outbreak is resulting into huge lay-off which is again not a good sign. While there are state and federal measures coming to help those impacted financially, in the more immediate future people can file for unemployment benefits. While some employers are asking their employees to take unpaid leaves as a solution to this. This is all resulting into a global economic slowdown.
Job Losses due to Coronavirus crisis
Ronojoy Dutta, CEO of IndiGo - India’s largest airline, announced on March 19, that the airline was instituting pay cuts for their senior employees and he would himself take the highest cut of 25 % amid the novel coronavirus pandemic that has hit the aviation industry hard. Also the Apollo Tyres chairperson, Onkar Kanwar announced a 25 per cent cut in their remuneration. GoAir, Indian low-cost airline has already sent 80 of its expat staff home. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, told that he would not take his salary of this month and next. Not only Indian companies but many foreign national companies have also decided to cut off wages.
U.S. airlines, which directly employ close to 750,000 people, are on edge about how quickly lawmakers will provide aid to the industry, dealing with a collapse in demand. The executives have described this collapse even worse than 9/11. United and its competitors have decided to slash flights, freeze hiring and ask employees to take unpaid leaves. In tourism industry, job losses could reach 67,000 as coronavirus sees international tourism dry up and consumers pocket their wallets. Tourism, hospitality, retail, forestry and transport sectors are all expecting to shed thousands of workers with claims 5000 jobs are on the line unless there is immediate assistance for 65 large tourism businesses facing full or partial closure. Westpac NZ chief economist Dominick Stephens has quoted that the overall unemployment is likely to rise from 4 per cent to 5.5 per cent or 45,000 unemployed people. He further added that the drop in jobs could reach up to 67,000 when “shadow unemployment” is taken into account. Kenya Flower firms have sent home more than 1,000 employees after huge losses following a closed European market.
On the other hand, several companies also promised that they would not cut salaries of their staff and were not considering layoffs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Rajiv Bajaj, managing director and chief executive officer of Bajaj Auto, has said, “I will cut my salary to zero before a single employee is laid off.” Similarly, other Indian business groups like The Aditya Birla group, the Vedanta group and the Essar group have also promised not to cut any jobs or salaries of their staff. U.S. airlines are asking for $58 billion in government aid, including direct grants.
This unemployment will have direct impact on country’s GDP and will result into much slower economic slowdown. As due to unemployment, majority of the laid off people will totally refrain from buying or using new products or services. This is directly going to affect the economic progress of many nations. According to some reports, new claims for unemployment benefits climbed to 281,000 last week as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and left people out of work. The Labor Department said that it was the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they totalled 299,000.
Governments are helping companies Cope with Crisis
At the same time, many governments are trying to help the affected businesses & people cope with the coronavirus crisis. For instance, the UK government said that it will subsidize the wages of any worker facing unemployment because of the coronavirus pandemic as it ordered the closure of pubs and restaurants to try to contain the outbreak. Their finance minister Rishi Sunak told reporters that the government will cover 80% of worker salaries for at least the next three months up to a maximum of £2,500 ($2,900) a month. The Danish government announced that it will cover 75% of the salaries of employees paid on a monthly basis who would otherwise have been fired, with companies paying the remaining amount. But as of now, many governments have not taken any action to deal with the issue of lay-offs. It will be interesting to see how Indian government will react to the this phase of lay-off and unemployment.