Employment Security in Egypt in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Rethinking Policies and Practices
Heba M. Khalil, Kareem Megahed
Crises such as COVID-19’s have inequitable impacts on different countries, various population groups and diverse sectors of society and the economy. Areas of work and employment were met with a lot of challenges worldwide, and in particular in countries like Egypt with a large sector of vulnerable and precarious workers. This policy paper addresses the question of employment security both in response to crises such as COVID-19, and on the long term. To do so, the research maps ‘vulnerable work’, including informal labor, labor in the gig economy, self-employed and other types of precarious work. It then assesses Egypt’s policy responses to COVID-19 with regards to the issues of unemployment and informal labor, including by assessing the efficacy of the irregular workers’ fund and the diverse methods used to finance the crisis.
Although some of those responses were in the right direction, their shortcomings revealed much deeper structural obstacles within employment relations and existing labor market vulnerabilities. This research thus provides policy recommendations, both on the short term in response to the crisis, as well as longer term to address vulnerability and precariousness in the world of employment in Egypt.