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Foreign workers most at risk of losing their jobs during pandemic

Foreigners may be the first let go as the coronavirus pandemic progresses, one official says
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Foreign workers are most at risk of losing their jobs as more and more companies cut workers during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Czech Statistical Office.

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The new findings, first reported in Seznam Zpravy, indicate that foreigners working in low-skilled jobs will be the first let go as the coronavirus pandemic progresses. Low-skilled jobs in industries like restaurants or tourism are first to go in times of crisis, Dalibor Holý, director of the labor market statistics department at the Czech Statistical Office, told Seznam Zpravy.

“We now have a large number of foreigners working in our country….in unskilled labor professions,” Holý said. “For example, in factories where mass redundancies can be expected when there are no contracts.”

In addition, the pandemic has also had an impact on transport jobs and agency jobs that many foreign workers fill.

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Because of this, not as many Czechs will be laid off, Holý said. Officials do not expect the unemployment rate to fluctuate much for that reason.

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“Released foreigners are likely to go back to their countries, so Czech unemployment will not increase as much as it will actually be laid off,” Holý told Seznam Zpravy.

A new survey found that a quarter of Czech companies laid off some of their employees during the pandemic, while others opted for reducing hours, reducing salaries, or reducing benefits. At the same time, a new report found that Czech wages rose five percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same time last year.

Though many companies have laid off employees or cut their salaries, Holý said the biggest rise in unemployment in the Czech Republic may still becoming. Because of notice periods, statistics may not indicate the full extent of job losses until the summer, when those notice periods expire.

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