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The Role of Business in Mitigating the Social Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Workers and Families

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About this event

BACKGROUND

The consequences of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak are unprecedented and felt around the world. The pandemic is heavily affecting labour markets, economies and livelihoods, including in global supply chains, leading to widespread business disruptions. With many businesses struggling to survive, loss of jobs and income and rising working poverty are a reality for many workers and especially women workers in vulnerable working conditions (often migrants, lower skilled, lower paid as well as MSMEs). Moreover, the fast-evolving situation has disrupted education and childcare, separation of families, family illness and loss of household income and increased unpaid care burdens (before COVID-19 women did – on average - four times as much unpaid care work than men in Asia-Pacific). Also, women and girls face higher risks of violence during confinement at home, and where home is now the workplace for many. The pandemic has further exacerbated existing inequalities and highlights the need for a range of supports and social protection measures for workers with family responsibilities. While government has a prominent role and responsibility in the development of COVID-19 responses, businesses can be and are part of the solution.

SESSION DESCRIPTION

This session will spotlight the different ways workers, their families and children have been impacted by COVID-19, share experiences of companies in the Asia-Pacific region and facilitate a discussion on some of the ways that companies can take action to support workers and employees through family-friendly policies.

The session will also discuss how employers can support gender-responsive policies and measures that complement broader social protection floors and help to mitigate the negative consequences on their workers stemming from COVID-19. 

SESSION OBJECTIVES

This session aims to:

  • Highlight the impact of COVID-19 on workers, their families and children in Asia and the Pacific;

  • Become familiar with the challenges faced by business and ways to overcome them;

  • Present recommendations and best practices in establishing family-friendly policies in the workplace.

QUESTIONS

  • How have business been impacted by COVID-19? (productivity, moral, staff turnover)?

  • How are different groups of workers and their children impacted by COVID 19 – including women workers, migrant workers, the specific vulnerabilities of their children? 

  • How has COVI-19 affected women workers and their children differently? What are the specific vulnerabilities of women workers and the children of the workers? 

  • What are key steps that employers can take to mitigate impacts on workers and their families?

  • How can employers support their workers to adequately access social protection schemes? 

  • What are key lessons learned? 

  • What is the role of government policies and investor actions?

Mr. Tatsuya Hamada

Mr. Hamada has served in number of senior executive roles in KDDI Corporation, as a Director, General Manager of Global ICT Business management and Director, General Manager of Global Sales and Marketing.

Ms. Ines Kaempfer

Ines Kaempfer brings over ten years of experience in CSR supply chain management and since 2014 has been the Executive Director of the Center for Child Rights & Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) in Asia, a social enterprise that helps businesses improve their direct and indirect impact on children, particularly in supply chains.

Ms. Ellen Maynes

Ellen leads IFC’s gender program in Myanmar and the Pacific working with businesses to close employment gaps between men and women. Ellen’s work focuses on employer support for childcare and recently led research on Tackling Childcare: the Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Myanmar.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh has more than 28 years of management experience in the field of international business and business sustainable development. He played an important role in the establishment of the Office for Business Sustainable Development (SDforB) of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in 2006, the Global Compact Vietnam Network (GCVN) in 2007 and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) in 2010.

Mr. Alex Heikens

Alex Heikens joined UNICEF Mongolia in 2017 as a Country Representative. Alex Heikens leads the UNICEF Mongolia Programme to strengthen child protection systems and improve access to quality health and education services for every child. This is done in close cooperation with public and private sector. Since January 2020, he is leading UNICEF Mongolia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on mitigating the impacts of the crisis on child rights.

Ms. Sarah Knibbs

Twenty-five years of programme design, management and policy experience in Asia, focusing on gender, women’s human rights and gender-based violence.

Co-organised by