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The Pandemic’s Impact on Daily-wage Laborers in the Gaza Strip, September 2020

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Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic has amplified the pre-existing socioeconomic crises in the Gaza Strip, and undermined the livelihoods of a significant portion of the working population, particularly the daily-wage labors.

On 24 August 2020, the local authorities in Gaza imposed a mandatory lockdown to curb the spread of the virus after the first confirmed cases were detected outside the quarantine facilities. The lockdown and ensuing curfew confined breadwinners to their houses, which further compromised their means of subsistence and triggered even more economic turmoil.

This fact sheet sheds light on the pandemic’s impact on daily-wage laborers in Gaza, and presents a number of recommendations that could enhance their resilience in the face of these unprecedented circumstances.

Facts and figures

  • By the end of 2019, the number of people in employment in the Gaza Strip stood at 261 thousand, of whom 115 thousand in the private sector and are thus classified as “wage employees”.

  • The average daily real wage in Gaza’s private sector in 2019 was about 43 shekels.

  • About 80 percent of wage employees in Gaza’s private sector earned less than the minimum wage (of 1,450 shekels per month), with a median of only 660 shekels.

  • The Ministry of Labor defines daily-wage laborers as individuals who are paid for their services on a daily basis. Whether hired or self-employed, they do not earn an income for days without work.

  • In April 2020, the Ministry of Labor in Gaza conducted an online registration of dailywage laborers who had been affected by the pandemic, and accordingly registered 158,611 individuals who identify as such (18.48 percent of them women) after excluding entries that did not fit the set criteria.