Lay Offs, Pay Cuts and Unemployment

Unemployment: The untold story of many Ghanaians during covid-19 pandemic

Everything seemed so surreal and unimaginable. It felt like the virus was only in Asia and would be stopped before it reached us here in Africa and Ghana. From Asia, we heard it was in Europe, then America. Before we could even blink, the first few cases emerged in some parts of Africa. In no time, people were dying everywhere and the world was cast into a state of panic and confusion. Life has never been the same since then with many devastating effects in all aspects of life. Everyone in every corner of this world has been affected in one way or the other by this pandemic. However, some people have felt it more than others with many being laid off, others having to take pay cuts, and a few more out of business. Africa’s leading online retail company Jumia looks at the impact of covid-19 on the employment situation in Ghana. Unemployment

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Lay Offs, Pay Cuts and Unemployment
Lay Offs, Pay Cuts and Unemployment
  1. Layoff – This is a term that has always not been frequently heard or used in our immediate environment. Years gone by, we used to hear this in foreign movies and read about it on the news. Ghanaian companies have never been in positions where they had to layoff employees in huge numbers. Even the foreign-owned companies have always found alternatives to survive in times of crisis. Unfortunately, covid-19 brought this unfortunate practice to many companies as they had to close down certain departments and lay off some staff to compensate for losses accrued during this pandemic. Staff who were laid off had to go home with a cheque that might have lasted a few weeks or months. What happens after that? Worse of all is the uncertainty surrounding their future. Would they be called back when everything calms down? Should they look elsewhere? What really does the future look like for them? These and many other questions are still unanswered. The big question remains ‘’WHAT DO WE DO’’? Unemployment
  2. Pay Cuts – The second most affected group of workers are those who had to take pay cuts. This may seem to be a better situation than those laid off right? However, it doesn’t seem so. Imagine the plans, projections, and commitments made. Think about the loans taken and calculated payback amounts and times based on your earnings before covid-19. How will you manage all of this? How will you survive having to take 50% or less of your salary every month to do the things you struggled to do with the full salaries? It’s sad, it’s unfortunate. In many cases, these pay cuts were necessary to keep the companies running. But for the employee who suffered a pay cut, the big question remains ‘’ WHAT DO WE DO’’? Unemployment
  3. Unemployment – Then there is the final but bigger category of unemployed Ghanaians. These numbers keep increasing day by day, month on month, year on year. Either tertiary students graduate in thousands with no assurance of a good job or semi-literates get to working ages and have nothing to do. The most painful aspect is that people who are laid off and a few who cannot stand the effects of a pay cut automatically join this category. This makes the huge number even greater. Although the government and other private sector companies have put measures to ameliorate the plights of unemployed people in Ghana, the gap seems a bit too big to be closed within a few years. Here again, the big question pops up. ‘’WHAT DO WE DO’’? Unemployment


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