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COVID-19 Disruptions May Affect Young People For Decades, ILO Warns

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Young people around the world are faced with a triple shock in face of the pandemic: the disruption of studies, loss of work and extra barriers to enter to labour market, the International Labour Organisation warned.

In a recent study on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the ILO has said young people will face the brunt of it. The report noted “a massive increase in the youth unemployment rate since February 2020.”

Without immediate action, the organisation warned that the impact of this will be “devastating and disproportionate”, with more than one in six young people forced to stop working since the outbreak began.

Around one-fifth of people under 25 worldwide were not in employment, education or training before the crisis, whilst over three-quarters of those in employment worked informal jobs.

Meanwhile, almost half of young workers were employed in sectors like hospitality, food services and retail trade — sectors hit hardest by the crisis.

In Malta, young people, most notably students were left out of the government’s aid scheme after various sectors of the economy were brought to a halt due to lockdown measures. The scheme guarantees full-time employees falling in sectors impacted by the crisis a monthly wage of €800 whilst part-timers are entitled to €500.

Those students who worked on the side were told they were not eligible to claim these funds if they received the monthly stipend of €80.

The ILO affirmed empirical evidence that young people may feel the effects of this recession for decades “as entering the labour market during economic lows can negatively affect young people’s labour market outcomes” longterm.

“If we do not take significant and immediate action to improve the situation, the legacy of the virus could be with us for decades,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said.

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