|Who cannot work from home in South Africa? Evidence from wave 4 of NIDS-CRAM
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments across the world issued a directive for workers to stay at home and work from there where functionally possible. While this directive has become less stringent since its first issuance, it is still in force as governments strive to reduce disease transmission and save lives. Nonetheless, that not all jobs can be performed from home has prompted research into who cannot work from home as they face a higher risk of exposure to the virus relative to those who can work from home. This paper explores the correlates (demographic and job characteristics) of workers who are unable to work from home. The analysis utilises logit models and the NIDS-CRAM wave 4 dataset. Results show that men are more unable to work from home than women, while non-white race groups have lower probabilities of working from home relative to whites. Individuals who dwell in shacks/informal housing are less likely to work from home than those who dwell in a house/flat. In addition, workers in urban areas have lower probabilities of working from home than those in rural areas. Employees in formal jobs are less likely to work from home than their counterparts in informal jobs. For occupations, workers in elementary occupations and plant and
machine operations are more likely to be unable to work from home than managers and professionals. Further, workers in the mining sector, private households, the manufacturing sector and community, social and personal services are more likely to be unable to work from home compared to workers in financial intermediation. These results call for interventions that minimise the risk of the vulnerable workers’ exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
|South Africa - National Income Dynamics Study - Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey 2021, Wave 4