The Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on Working Hours and Mental Health of SME Workers

Srinita Srinita, B.S. Nazamuddin, Nur Aidar, Asri Diana, Mega Utami

Abstract


Several studies have shown a decline in the welfare of some SME workers due to layoffs, working hours reduction, economic losses as well as a range of social and mental health problems. However, the extent to which SME workers are economically and mentally affected by the Covid-19 pandemic remains underexplored in recent studies. This study investigates the effects of pandemic on working hours and the mental health of SME workers. We collected the data by surveying 126 workers of SMEs doing business in three categories: fashion, culinary and handicraft. We employed a descriptive statistics analysis to interpret the results. The findings show that only 18.3% of workers experienced reduced working hours, with an average of 5.5 hours reduced per month. On average working hours range from 2 to 15 hours per week and their average wage is Rp. 1,461,680, below the provincial minimum wage. Most workers (87%) admitted that they had an optimistic view about their future amid the pandemic. It implies that workers view the pandemic is of temporary nature. However, they had the feeling of fear to some extent. Only 11% of the workers surveyed were disturbed by the impact of the pandemic. In general, the Covid-19 pandemic had only a moderate mental health impact for SME workers in Aceh Province. Therefore, the government should prioritize its policy on generating post-pandemic economic and job opportunities.

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