Thursday, April 16, 2020

Great resources on global workplace laws and social policies and COVID-19

If you watch the news in the US and missed The Daily Show from Trevor Noah's Living Room recently, you might not realize that COVID-19 affects every country in the world.

Dealing with the pandemic is straining legal and policy frameworks, particularly when it comes to the workplace. These strains shine a cold hard light on the shortcomings in national and international workplace and social policies - whether it is the lack of laws governing telework, lack of an unemployment compensation system in Mexico and other Latin American countries, the absence of a national paid sick leave law and little to no job protection in the United States, or the absence of income or workplace protection for large groups of people around the world who are migrants or toil in the informal sector of the economy.

Some great resources have popped up in the past month to help us begin to understand how COVID-19 is affecting the workplace and how countries are approaching the pandemic in workplace law and policy. Check them out! The articles are short but impactful, shedding light not only on how COVID-19 is affecting workplaces around the world but also on how policy makers and other workplace actors are dealing with the crisis.

1. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has a dedicated web page COVID-19 and the world of work which contains articles discussing how the pandemic is affecting different groups of workers (for example, young workers), country responses to the pandemic, and periodic monitoring reports,  The first report, published on March 18, consists of a preliminary assessment of the impacts of COVID-19 on the world of work and steps policy makers, employers, and trade unions have taken to mitigate those impacts. An updated report was posted on April 7.

2. The Special COVID-19 Edition: ABA International Labor and Employment Law Committee Newsletter published on March 26 covers a variety of countries and regions including Australia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Central America, France, Germany, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom (both generally and with regard to immigration). As described by Editor Rick Bales in the Workplace Law Prof blog, "The special edition of the newsletter contains a series of short articles describing how several countries from throughout the world are using workplace laws to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate its effect on workers and workplaces. Though our survey is not comprehensive, it nonetheless provides a snapshot of the often thoughtful and creative ways that countries are responding to the crisis."

3. The Italian Labour Law e-Journal published Special Issue: Covid-19 and Labour Law: A Global Review designed to be a comprehensive resource written by labor law scholars from around the world. I want to highlight in particular the Editorial in which the Editors wrote, "Although the precautions suggested by the epidemiologic science, like for example social distancing, are the same around the world, national governments and legislators are translating them into specific policies and normative solutions, in different attempts to balance health and economic interests. Hence, it is important to explore differences and similarities, with a view to identifying diverging patterns and common trends."

The ILLEJ editors are hoping to broaden coverage of countries around the world and have issued a call for additional country articles, The special issue "is designed to be 'work-in-progress'. Scholars from the Countries not already dealt with are welcome to submit their contribution. The deadline for new submission is 4 May 2020. Please send your expression of interest beforehand at the following email address:"  Due May 4.

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