COVID-19 Laws and Informal Workers

In March 2020, WIEGO’s Law Programme began a project to collect, collate and analyse the COVID-19 laws in 41 countries in Africa, 7 in Asia, and 16 in Latin America. The aim of this project was to investigate whether lawmakers recognized and addressed the needs of informal workers as they responded to the immediate challenges that the crisis presented. Our analysis considered four questions, namely: 

  • To what extent did COVID-19 laws recognize informal workers as essential workers?
  • To what extent did COVID-19 laws and policies include informal workers in social protection and relief that governments provided in response to the pandemic?
  • To what extent did COVID-19 laws recognize informal workers’ needs for preventative measures to protect their safety and health during the pandemic?
  • To what extent did governments recognize informal workers’ organizations as partners and include them in COVID-19 decision-making structures and processes? 

The laws covered the period from March to October 2020. We collected statutes, regulations, statutory instruments, policies, guidelines and protocols and official announcements from national governments and local authorities. We also collected court documents and court decisions concerning COVID-19.


Outputs from our Research

Law and Informality Insights Newsletter (August 2020)

This edition of Law and Informality Insights analyses the COVID-19 laws with a focus on domestic workers and street vendors. WIEGO’s Law Programme collected and collated the COVID-19 laws in some 51 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We consider the lockdown provisions, essential services and social protection in relation to the two occupational groups.

The Recognition and Protection of Informal Traders in COVID-19 Laws: Lessons from Africa (December 2020)

This resource document analyses the COVID-19 laws and their impact on street vendors in 41 African countries. In particular, it considers lockdown provisions and the declaration of essential services, social protection, occupational health and safety provisions and social dialogue.

The Impact of COVID-19 Laws on Street Vendors and Market Traders: Trends and Insights from Latin America (July 2021) 

This resource document analyses the COVID-19 laws and their impact on street vendors in 16 Latin American countries. In particular, it considers lockdown provisions and the declaration of essential services, social protection, and occupational health and safety provisions.

The Recognition and Protection of Informal Traders in COVID-19 Laws: Lessons from Asia

This resource document analyses the COVID-19 laws and their impact on street vendors in 7 Asian countries. In particular, it considers lockdown provisions and the declaration of essential services, social protection, occupational health and safety provisions and social dialogue.

“Regulating Informal Food Vending in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond: Best Practices from Africa and Latin America” Blog by Teresa Marchiori

This blog highlights the good practices and pitfalls that should challenge local authorities to rethink their approach to informal vending  and access to public space during the crisis – and beyond.It stresses that legislators should use their learnings to design long-term strategies and enabling legal frameworks that protect and support informal food vendors – fully reflecting their contribution as providers of essential services. 

Informal Economy Topic
Informal Economy Theme
Language