How is COVID-19 affecting professionals?

96.9% of self-employed professionals reported they suffered a financial loss

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

96.9% of self-employed professionals reported they suffered a loss and 72% feel more stressed than usual.

This data was published from a survey conducted by the Malta Federation of Professional Associations (MFPA) in the first week of April about the current working conditions of professionals. In a statement, the MFPA said that the aim was to have a clearer picture of the difficulties professionals are facing in the current situation and be in a position to make proposals to authorities.

The study was conducted amongst 1163 individual professionals. 65.3% of the total respondents were healthcare professionals and there were three different employment categories:  48.7% employed, 17.7% employed and also with part-time private practice while 33.6% were self-employed.

Regarding the workplace of professionals, 87.2% said that it is normal for them to have face-to-face contact with clients, of which 64.4% work in clinics, hospitals or pharmacies. Then 97.4% of self-employed professionals said that they see clients face-to-face.

33% of the respondents said they were at high risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Stress factors during the last two weeks of March 2020

28% of the total respondents reported they worked longer hours since mid-March and should the current situation persist for a further two months, 33% reported they think that their level of stress will increase.

Self-employed reported a higher rate of stress, 74.9%, compared to 70.5% of those who are employed and 70.6% employed with part-time private practice.

Financial effects on professionals

70.3% of self-employed reported a loss of more than 50% of their usual income. The survey showed that 83.5% of those in full-time employment with part-time private practice also reported financial losses with 25.2% of these reporting a loss of more than 50%.

When asked whether financial packages announced by the government will be of help to them, 62.7% of the self-employed reported that none of the packages apply to them, 25.8% did not know and 11.5% reported that these packages will be helpful to them.

70.1% of self-employed suggested that tax credits could be one type of compensation. 42.2% of the employed and 63.1% of those in employment with part-time private practice also reported that tax credits could be one type of compensation.

Other suggested compensations by all employment categories included: reducing utility bills, increase in health allowance, provide danger money, suspension of bank loans, subsidised salaries, provide wage supplement, and provision of additional monetary bonuses.

The Malta Federation of Professional Associations said that a second survey will be issued in the coming days and will take into consideration the fact that professionals can also be employers who employ other professionals and ancillary staff in their practices.

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