Covid-19, social class and work experience in Germany: inequalities in work-related health and economic risks

Autor(en): Holst, Hajo 
Fessler, Agnes
Niehoff, Steffen
Stichwörter: Covid-19; economic risks; health risks; inequality; social class; Sociology; work and employment
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Volumen: 23
Ausgabe: 1, SI
Startseite: S495-S512
The study analyses inequalities in how German employees experience corona-related health and economic risks at the workplace. A social class framework is used to locate both types of risks within the vertically stratified and horizontally differentiated employment structure. A mixed-methods approach is applied based on a workforce survey (n = 9737) and qualitative interviews (n = 27), from the early stage of the pandemic (April to May 2020). Logistic regressions triangulated with interview analysis reveal striking occupational inequalities in employees' corona experience: The work-life burdens of Covid-19 hit social classes quite unequally. Three findings are particularly noteworthy. First, health and economic risk experiences are primarily located in different horizontal segments of the employment structure. Perceived health risks are highest for the classes based on the interpersonal work logic, whereas the independent classes and the technical classes experience higher economic risks. Second, risk experience among wage earners is vertically stratified. In each horizontal segment, members of the lower classes report significantly higher health and economic risks than the upper classes. Third, although health and economic risks have their centres in different horizontal segments, the risks overlap among production and service workers at the lower end of the employment structure; thus, amplifying pre-existing class inequalities.
ISSN: 14616696
DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2020.1828979

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