Industry Update/National Response
- Eight factories in Hawassa Industrial Park have suspended operations for between 15-22 days. Approximately 14,000 workers have been asked not to work but will receive full salaries according to the factories.
- The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) developed a workplace protocol in response to COVID-19. Under the protocol, the preventive measures to be taken by the employer and the employees include advice on washing hands, keeping materials clean, and social distancing, among other measures.
- Legal and administrative measures to be taken under the protocol include: 1) unused annual leave shall be given to the employees. If the employees have fully utilized their annual leaves, employers are advised to grant them at least half of their next year’s annual leave in order to retain their employment contracts with pay; 2) a provision to suspend salary increment increases for the coming 12 months, in addition, to not pay existing allowances like hardship allowance, transport allowance, housing allowance and other benefits until the full recovery from the pandemic is declared; 3) based on the collective agreement between the employer and employee and for the continuation of the operation, a provision to make adjustments to the already existing salary scale; 4) for employees who are assigned to less cumbersome activities, the employer may give a certain amount of loan and relieve such employees from work, temporarily, and confirm in writing to the employees that they will resume work when conditions improve; 5) recommendations to follow corporate social responsibility practices of various employer/employee associations.
- Some factories report to have reduced the number of workers by half to ensure social distancing, while also providing additional buses for transportation services to and from work.
- Other practices reported by some factories include temperature measurement and mandatory handwashing among workers upon factory entry and exit, as well as distribution of PPE material.
Factory Service Update
- Factory visits, including assessments, are suspended until further notice.
- Advisory services are being delivered virtually with a focus on response to COVID-19.
Additional Better Work Activities
- Better Work is liaising with all stakeholders to limit the impact on workers and business and identify a collective approach to support the industry.
- Better Work Ethiopia is carrying out surveys to understand the expected impact of Covid-19 and possible interventions that different stakeholders can take. Twenty-three surveys have been collected to-date. Preliminary findings show that order cancelations and general absenteeism due to COVID-19 disruptions have significantly reduced production in the sector.
- Twenty-eight representatives from FDI and local factories, and global brands, attended a webinar on 10 April. The meeting served as a platform to share best practices among factories to educate workers about COVID-19.
- Regular webinars with partners and stakeholders and will continue to be facilitated by the ILO to ensure a coordinated and demand-driven intervention for the industry.
*(Webinar for Better Work buyers and factories was held on 10 April )