South Africa recovered better than expected numbers of jobs (2.1 million) as the most severe lockdown restrictions were lifted.
South Africa recovered better than expected numbers of jobs (2.1 million) as the most severe lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Covid-19 impact hit working women harder than it did working men

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Jun 22, 2021

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Cape Town - Two -thirds of the three million jobs lost between February and April 2020 were held by women, Old Mutual insurance claims show.

Now, over a year into the pandemic, the recently released Old Mutual Claim Statistics Report reveals that 58% of 2020 retrenchment cover claims were paid out to women, confirming that the Covid-19 economic impact hit working women harder than it did working men.

The insurer said it paid out 30% more in retrenchment cover claims in 2020 than in 2019, representing a R3 million increase and the proportion of claims paid to women shot up 21% from 48% in 2019.

“This is one of the highest-ever increases in retrenchment cover claims, directly related to the Covid-19 outbreak and the economic devastation that followed,” said retail protection product head at Old Mutual, John Kotze.

The Eastern Cape saw the highest increase in Old Mutual retrenchment claims in 2020 at 12% – exactly double its share of 6% in 2019 while the Western Cape accounted for 25% of claims (up from 15% in 2019), and KwaZulu-Natal made up 15% of claims (up from 13% in 2019).

Meanwhile, the middle-aged also appeared to be hardest hit with those between the ages of 30 and 40 filing the highest proportion of claims across five age brackets (20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60 and 60-70) at 39% ­– up from 36% in 2019.

At the same time, those between the ages of 50 and 60 saw the biggest increase in claims year on year, from 18% in 2019 to 23% in 2020.

Early this year, the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) showed that South Africa recovered better than expected numbers of jobs (2.1 million) as the most severe lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Kotze cautioned that this partial recovery represented an opportunity for households to reflect on the lessons of mass job losses in 2020 – and to prepare for future economic downturns that may cause an upswing in unemployment once again.

“Being retrenched is stressful enough – the last thing you want is to get yourself into bad debt or risk losing assets like your home or car. If you are currently employed, taking out retrenchment cover now means that, if you are laid off down the line, you will still receive an income to cover your living expenses for a period of time, while you look for another job,” he said.

Cape Times

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