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ILO says 29% of workers in critical jobs paid poorly


THE International Labor Organization (ILO) said 29% of workers in the healthcare, retail, security, sanitation, transportation and clerical jobs are not paid competitively relative to other industries.

In its 281-page World Employment and Social Outlook report, the ILO classified workers from these occupations as ‘key workers,’ and called for the improvement of their compensation and working conditions.

“The poor working conditions of key workers exacerbate employee turnover and labor shortages, jeopardizing the provision of basic services,” the ILO said in the report.

The report looked into employment data from 90 countries. It said key workers account for 52% of all employment globally.

About 26% of key employees in the Philippines are low-paid, the ILO said.

“In the Philippines, for example, outsourced security guards reported that they did not have job security, minimum income security or entitlement to paid leave, and were thus concerned about the consequences of close interaction with the public when performing temperature checks,” the ILO said.

It said the Philippines is experiencing a shortage of nurses since many of them prefer to work overseas for better-paying jobs.

Nearly 60% of key workers in low and middle-income countries lack some form of social protection, the ILO noted. 

“The picture is even bleaker for self-employed key workers in most developing countries, as they are almost entirely without social protection,” it said.

“Greater financial hardship was observed in organizations with little or no resources to furlough employees or provide them with social protection against income losses,” it said.

The ILO also called for increased access to skills training to ensure workers carry out their duties effectively and safely.

In August, the ILO said only about 6% of domestic workers worldwide have access to comprehensive social protections.

It said the Philippines was the only country in the Asia-Pacific to ratify the Domestic Workers’ Convention in 2011. The Philippines passed the Domestic Workers Act a year later, setting a minimum wage, outlining benefits and improved terms of employment for domestic workers.

“Valuing key workers means ensuring that they receive adequate pay and work in good conditions,” ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo said in a statement.

“Decent work is an objective for all workers but it is particularly critical for key workers, who provide vital necessities and services both in good times and bad.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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