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Report on the informal sector in Timor-Leste in the midst of COVID-19

Informal sector in Timor-Leste
Paper author: 
Mata Dalan Institute (MDI) with support from Oxfam and Professor Brett Inder, Monash University
Paper publication date: 
Thursday, September 24, 2020

In June 2020 Matadalan Institute (MDI), in partnership with Oxfam and Dr. Brett Inder from Monash University, surveyed446 informal businesses in 7 municipalities. The aim was to learn about how the State of Emergency (SoE) affectedinformal businesses.

The vast majority of the informal sector in Timor-Leste is small scale, self-employed workers undertaking low-skilledwork with few capital inputs. These are often vulnerable workers – not subject to labour laws, minimum wage orworkplace safety protections. As a result, often those in the informal sector are poorly equipped to cope with shocksand to access support during these shocks. The COVID-19 2020 State of Emergency provides a very real examples ofsuch shocks, with informal sector businesses unable to access much of the support available in the Government’seconomic response package.