Non-Standard Employment and Unemployment during the COVID-19 Crisis: Economic and Health Findings from a Six-Country Survey Study

Virginia Gunn, Alejandra Vives, Alessandro Zaupa, Julio C. Hernando-Rodriguez, Mireia Julià, Signild Kvart, Wayne Lewchuk, Eva Padrosa, Mattias Philippe Vos, Emily Q. Ahonen, Sherry Baron, Kim Bosmans, Letitia Davis, Ignacio Díaz, Nuria Matilla-Santander, Carles Muntaner, Patricia O’campo, Per Olof Östergren, Christophe Vanroelen, Emilia F. VignolaTheo Bodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 crisis is a global event that has created and amplified social inequalities, including an already existing and steadily increasing problem of employment and income insecurity and erosion of workplace rights, affecting workers globally. The aim of this exploratory study was to review employment-related determinants of health and health protection during the pandemic, or more specifically, to examine several links between non-standard employment, unemployment, economic, health, and safety outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Canada, the United States, and Chile, based on an online survey conducted from November 2020 to June 2021. The study focused on both non-standard workers and unemployed workers and examined worker outcomes in the context of current type and duration of employment arrangements, as well as employment transitions triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. The results suggest that COVID-19-related changes in non-standard worker employment arrangements, or unemployment, are related to changes in work hours, income, and benefits, as well as the self-reported prevalence of suffering from severe to extreme anxiety or depression. The results also suggest a link between worker type, duration of employment arrangements, or unemployment, and the ability to cover regular expenses during the pandemic. Additionally, the findings indicate that the type and duration of employment arrangements are related to the provision of personal protective equipment or other COVID-19 protection measures. This study provides additional evidence that workers in non-standard employment and the unemployed have experienced numerous and complex adverse effects of the pandemic and require additional protection through tailored pandemic responses and recovery strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5865
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Work Sciences


  • atypical employment
  • health equity
  • income and employment insecurities
  • lack of workplace rights
  • mental health
  • occupational health and safety
  • pandemic responses and recovery strategies
  • poverty
  • social inequalities
  • transitions towards non-standard employment and unemployment
  • worker health and well-being


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