Covid impact on workers studied

A NEW survey that aims to gauge public opinion about the economic impact of Covid-19 on skilled and semi-skilled workers was launched by a think tank.

Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) launched the multi-lingual survey in English, Arabic and Bengali in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bahrain.

The online survey features 14 questions on how the pandemic affected the income, spending, financial stability and even the health of the public in Bahrain.

Respondents are asked whether they lost their jobs, took a pay cut or were looking for additional income post the pandemic in February.

The study probes whether the total number of working hours was changed since February for individuals, as well as socio-economic challenges such as difficulty in accessing psychological support and full-time education.

Respondents have to choose between three options – whether the challenges had no effect, moderate or extreme effect.

It is the first survey to probe concerns over reduced time for leisure and relaxation – in case an individual has to work while taking care of children.

Issues related to homeschooling and time allocated to look after the elderly are also under the spotlight.

Furthermore, the survey seeks to find out whether social lives of individuals have taken a hit post the pandemic, whether less time is allocated to friends, hobbies and if they consulted their family or non-governmental organisations for financial support during these tough times.

The think tank further collects feedback related to economic security namely income reduction, layoffs, rent support from the government, unemployment benefits and deferred loan payment or taxes.

“Evaluating the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 is the primary goal of this partnership between Derasat and UNDP Bahrain,” Derasat’s director of research Dr Omar Al Ubaydli told the GDN yesterday.

Dr Al Ubaydli

“One of the best ways to achieve this is to survey the population directly.

“Using multiple languages is critical to ensure that our findings reflect the true impact to the greatest extent possible, as many members of Bahraini society are only able to express themselves in one language, which might be Arabic, English, or something else.”

Dr Al Ubaydli said the findings of the survey will be released to the public and will even help policymakers.

“The survey offers people whose livelihoods have been affected to describe their experience and to explain the sort of support they feel would be most beneficial to them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Derasat also released a report in co-operation with the UNDP Bahrain that examines the pandemic’s impact on financial transactions and consumption behaviour.

It covers data based on transactions done from January 2019 until June this year that showed restructuring household consumption patterns with prices increased in some sectors that affected consumer baskets.

The report stated that people in Bahrain shifted from cash to mobile contactless payments, out of necessity as stores were shut due to Covid-19 curbs. Spending dropped in sectors such as accommodation, air travel, electricity as social distancing rule affected retail activity in the country.

The document is authored by Dr Al Ubaydli and research fellow Dr Fatima Al Sebaie, based on data provided by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/872657/Covid-impact-on-workers-studied

 

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