Migrant workers, essential work, and COVID-19

Alison Reid, Elena Rhonda-Perez, Marc B. Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Globally, migrant and immigrant workers have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workers. They might be a Bulgarian worker at a meat processing plant in Germany, a Central American farmworker in the fields of California, or a Filipino worker at an aged-care facility in Australia. What they have in common is they are all essential workers who have worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic and have been infected with coronavirus at work. COVID-19 has highlighted the inequitable working conditions of these workers. In many instances, they are employed precariously, and so are ineligible for sick leave or social security, or COVID-19 special payments. If these are essential workers, they should get at least the same health and safety benefits of all nonessential workers. Improving the working and living conditions of migrant workers can and should be a positive outcome of the coronavirus pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • COVID19
  • essential workers
  • migrant workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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