Recap from IOE digital conferences on COVID-19 pandemic

Through a series of digital conferences held this week, IOE is spearheading efforts to build partnerships and help the private sector mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the health and livelihoods of workers and employers globally are at stake. The pandemic is disrupting the daily life of people and business in an unprecedented manner. Now more than ever, our support to members and the business community is paramount.

Session 1: Employer and business organisations: COVID-19 response

The first of these digital conferences’ series attracted a wide range of actors. Members from Australia, Spain, Switzerland, France, China, Japan and the USA provide an update on measures taken by governments in their respective countries, as well as their response.

Find the recordings here.

Session 2: How to develop effective Human Resource telework policies

Teleworking is not a new phenomenon, but forced total telework is. Johnny C. Taylor from the Society for Human Resource Management, Constanze Moorhouse from Eversheds-Sutherland, and Eva Rimbau Gilabert from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya provided guidance on effective HR and telework policies.

Some of the questions addressed included: Could full-time telework be a viable option for the future of work? What areas of the law need to be considered when it comes to full-time telework? How to preserve the well-being of employees while keeping productivity?

Learn more about psychosocial aspects of telework, related data protection issues, and much more. Find the full  online session here.

Session 3: Economic advocacy and ensuring business continuity

According to a recent preliminary ILO assessment note, almost 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide as a result of COVID-19. For some companies, the disruption of activities will have a lasting effect if they do not act immediately.

Current and former senior experts from ILO, OECD, The German Economic Institute and the Confederation of German Employers' Associations shed some light on the crisis we are facing and the unprecedented responses needed. According to panelist, these will have to be comprehensive, resolute, ambitious and coordinated in order to preserve jobs and secure incomes.

Want to deep-dive into “helicopter money”, flexible work schemes and other measures to mitigate the imminent economic crisis? Revisit full conference here.

Session 4: Private sector contributions in health emergency situations

Billions of people have been asked to stay home in multiple countries/territories in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. In a rapidly and life-threatening situation, never have effective public-private partnerships been so necessary.

High-level experts including WHO Director for Public Health María Neira, International SOS Regional Medical Director Laurent Taymans, Chief of ILO Occupational Safety and Health Branch Joaquim Pintado Nunes and Chilean Confederation for Production and Commerce (CPC) General Manager Fernando Alvear provide an overview of measures that can be jointly taken with the private sector to mitigate the pandemic.

As frontline responders, Employers have a key role to play not only in helping flatten the curve, but also in supporting policymakers in their efforts to mitigate and, ultimately, eradicate this pandemic. Listen to full session here.

Business Networks Sessions

IOE is also continuing work through its specialised Business Networks and coordinating information sharing and learning of members. The Global Occupational Safety and Health Network (GOSH) held an online session on Tuesday 24 March to share information among members on occupational safety and health measures within the context of the current situation. The Global Industrial Relations Network (GIRN) also held an online session on Monday 30 March to exchange with members on the effects of Covid-19 in the area of industrial relations globally. Finally, as the focal point of the Business & Industry Major Group at the UN, IOE is coordinating the activities of this group and has been actively leading efforts to stay informed and on top of the current situation; the latest online session was organised on Tuesday 24 March. These Networks are accessible only to members and therefore the content of those sessions is not available to the public.

Presentations from speakers are also available on our dedicated page.

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