Some 200,000 people lost their jobs and almost half of them were rendered jobless because their companies stopped working

• During the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency in Serbia, some 200,000 people or eight percent of those who were employed in Serbia (also including those who were informally employed or self-employed) in February 2020, before the pandemic was declared, lost their jobs, it was estimated on the basis of a study conducted in mid-April by SeConS Development Initiative Group with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

• Women bore the brunt of the burden and the highest risk during the Covid-19 crisis as they accounted for as much as 86 percent of the “frontline workers facing the risk of infection”. Heavier workload in terms of domestic chores and looking after family members was also shouldered by women (in 70% of households), who mostly performed these tasks even before the crisis.

• Employees in Serbia adapted well to working from home: about one-fourth of them (24.7%) started working from home, of whom 90 percent were adequately equipped for doing so, while merely 15 percent of them were less efficient than usual while working from home.

• Two-thirds of the respondents were worried about health risks, 35.6 percent were worried about the looming economic crisis in Serbia, while 16.2 percent voiced concerns about the potential deterioration of freedoms, strengthening of repression and the authoritarian rule.

This study was conducted with a view to gaining insights into the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency on employment of the population, working conditions and practices related to household tasks and taking care of family members, covering a representative sample of 1,600 respondents who were employed in February 2020, and it reflects the situation and perceptions during the study period.

Almost one half of those who lost their jobs (46.2%) were rendered jobless because their companies stopped working. One-fifth of the total number of respondents (20.5%) was not offered a renewal of employment contract after the previous one expired. In most cases, the employees could not organise going to work and taking care of their family members, so they had to quit their jobs because during the state of emergency there was no public transport, schools and kindergartens were closed and social services to the elderly were suspended.

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