COVID-19 Impact on Agricultural Workers

Findings from FLA assessments in the agriculture sector

FLA assessed the impacts of COVID-19 on agricultural workers during 2020-2021. FLA assessments gathered data from 842 growers producing commodities for seven FLA member companies in 10 countries and included interviews with nearly 900 individuals, including workers, their family members, and community members.

Violations of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Benchmarks for the Agriculture Sector were identified. The most common violations included a lack of written contracts, young workers (ages 15 to 17) performing hazardous tasks or working beyond permitted hours, health and safety risks related to COVID-19, and limited access to social protection for workers testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Further, FLA documented trends among agriculture workers, such as increased expenses that increased debt and complications for migrant workers resulting from policies implemented to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The review also revealed a range of responses to the pandemic by FLA member companies, including best practice examples such as the development of guidelines and training for workers, the adoption of safety measures such as swab tests, the provision of personal protective equipment such as masks, and the establishment of channels for workers to report contracting COVID-19.

This report provides an overview of FLA’s assessment findings and presents recommendations companies can implement in response to the pandemic and build capacity to address similar health emergencies in the future.