A research study undertaken by LEAD at Krea University in association with the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship said, overall stress levels increased over time, with over 20 per cent of the entrepreneurs mentioning that they felt stressed nearly every day one year into the pandemic.
When looked at the impact on gender, patterns differed between men and women. Looking at those who reported being not stressed at all and those who were stressed almost every day, women seem to have been more stressed than men in the early phase of the lockdown.
The study also found that many microbusinesses went the extra step to provide several benefits to retain workers during challenging times. 41 per cent of microbusinesses gave wages despite no work, while 13 per cent also provided loans and advances.
There was a significant layoff, with 34 per cent of the microbusinesses downsizing between the above time frames. Microbusinesses led by female owners witnessed greater layoffs overall, and of the workers laid off, 55 per cent were women. Notably, 80 per cent of workers in women-led microbusinesses were women, while only 14 per cent of those employed in male-led microbusinesses were women, as per the report.
Microbusinesses with a larger number of workers (i.e. with more than 6 workers) witnessed the most drastic changes in downsizing. It was observed that 53 per cent of firms laid off workers at least once between May 2020 and July 2021, when the country witnessed maximum lockdowns.
The study report said that there is a need for a comprehensive and customised social security provision for workers in microbusinesses that employ less than 5 workers, provide seasonal employment, cater to migrant workers who are not registered in the state, etc.