Corona crisis also determines the work of the Inspectorate in 2021

The corona crisis has a major impact on society and, as such, also on the work of the Inspectorate SZW. The 2021 annual plan therefore does not only deal with the “classic risks” in the field of healthy, safe and fair work. The consequences of the corona crisis for the economy and the labour market require that the Inspectorate’s efforts in 2021 are flexible.

This means that the interventions are adjusted if required by the circumstances to contribute effectively to the reduction of contamination risks in the workplace and to facilitate other parties in the labour market. This is based on the idea that we can only control corona together.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has made developments more visible that were actually already known to us, but which we as a society could still ignore. We’ve already noted that developments in the labour market lead to an accumulation of occupational risks. Especially among workers who perform low-paid work, on a flexible basis”, Inspector General Marc Kuipers said during the publication of the 2021 annual plan.

According to the Inspectorate, they run a greater risk of unfair, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. This group also has a greater tendency of ending up disabled or unemployed,  especially during an economic slump. This group is particularly affected by the consequences of corona. One group that stands out are the migrant workers. Part of the production chains is increasingly dependent on these employees, who regularly have to deal with underpayment, long working hours and poor housing. In 2021, the Inspectorate SZW will therefore carry out additional checks in sectors that employ many migrant workers. The Inspectorate is also intensifying cooperation with other authorities.

Corona has very disruptive effects on sectors, production chains and revenue models. The Inspectorate estimates that several occupational risks will therefore increase in priority. This concerns risks of unfair work (underpayment, illegal employment), insufficient income and problematic debts and increasing fraud with social security and support measures. Employers may also cut back on good working conditions and maintenance or replacement of machines, which can result in labour risks.

More information (in Dutch) is available on the Dutch website of the Inspectorate SZW: