UN Women report finds many frontline workers in St. Lucia suffered lower income amid pandemic

Report notes frontline workers lost second jobs, lost income from lower reduced working hours 

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA — Women working on the frontline during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in St. Lucia had to contend with not only exposure to the virus, but also lower income from reduced work hours and/or loss of secondary jobs and several other work-related challenges, according to a recently published report by UN Women.

“Voices of Saint Lucian Women”.

In “Voices of Saint Lucian Women”, UN Women detailed the findings of a study conducted with the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment that was carried out from July 2020 to October 2020, just before the start of the second COVID wave.

“Although frontline workers had not lost their jobs,” the report noted, “some of them may have experienced a relative or absolute decline in their incomes because of reduced shifts, increased costs or a loss of second jobs as security guards during parties and other social events.”

Additionally, “about half of the respondents experienced increases in expenses without a corresponding increase in income, and a few of them now had to cover the expenses of two households because they had to meet the needs of relatives who lost their income as a result of the pandemic”.


Support for women workers 

Compounding the challenges of lower income, many of the women frontline workers also did not receive much financial support from the government during the period of the survey as aid programmes were primarily geared towards toward those who had “lost their primary source of income” at the time.

Employees work in an office while social distancing and wearing face masks to protect against the novel coronavirus.

“Just over half of the respondents described work-related challenges that weakened their ability to cope with the suddenness of the pandemic, which included insufficient PPE; longer work hours; fewer work hours, resulting in a reduction in salary; and/or handling clients, customers or patients in a stressful environment,” the report noted.

It added, “Because of the tremendous sacrifices they were making for the good of the country, they felt that they should have received some form of tangible support or compensation.

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    “They also complained about their employers’ failure to provide some of the most basic services or supplies that had been promised, such as transportation to limit their use of public buses, training, psychosocial support and groceries…

    “Like other workers, frontline workers also faced additional financial burdens that they found difficult to bear on the same salaries.”

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    UN Women, “Voices of Saint Lucian Women: A study of the impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers, small entrepreneurs, pre-school teachers and hospitality workers” - https://www.jointsdgfund.org/es/node/1087

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