Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) says that firms may continue to lay off staff as they continue to struggle with the rising Covid-19 cases.
In an interview on Monday, Ecam executive director George Khaki that most companies are are resorting to minimising production costs which may lead to job losses.
He said: “We have lately been receiving notices from firms indicating that they intend to lay off some staff due to the rising Covid-19 situation.
“We earlier estimated that by the first quarter of this year, which was when we had estimated the Covid-19 to disappear, about 680 000 jobs would be lost but now the situation is even worse.”
Khaki said accommodative monetary policies and enhancement in social protection programmes are crucial in the meantime to support job losses.
He further encouraged workers to get vaccinated as this would help normalise things in the medium-term by lowering cases.
The Malawi job market has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 where 273 712 Malawians became jobless in the first half of 2020, according to a survey conducted by Ecam.
The association estimated that by March this year, 680 496 jobs would be lost in view of the pandemic.
On his part,Malawi Congress of Trade Unions president Charles Kumchengasaid the situation calls for a robust social protection scheme.
He said: “We understand the predicament we are in and only hope that it ends soon. We long to have a robust system formulated to cushion job losses that may arise in view of situations like this.”
Globally, job losses have been inevitable in view of the Covid-19 pandemic where 8.8 percent of global working hours were lost relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs, according to the International Labour Organisation.