Self-employed professionals suffered substantial losses due to COVID-19, survey finds

Government aid package to cushion COVID-19 impact was of no help to 62.7% of self-employed professionals, according to a survey carried out by the Malta Federation of Professional Associations

Professionals have suffered financial losses as a result of COVID-19 restrictions
Professionals have suffered financial losses as a result of COVID-19 restrictions

The majority of self-employed professionals have suffered financial losses in the last two weeks of March, a survey by the Malta Federation of Professional Associations found.

A staggering 96.9% of self-employed professionals recorded loss of income due to restrictions introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The results come from a survey carried out by the MFPA in the first week of April, which sought to analyse the current working conditions of professionals.

“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 the authorities,” the federation said. 

70.3% of self-employed professionals reported losses exceeding 50% of their usual income. 83.5% of those in full-time employment with part-time private practice, also reported financial losses with a quarter of these reporting a loss of more than 50%.

62.7% of professionals surveyed said the financial packages offered by the government were of no help to them. Only 11% said the packages were of help.

Tax credits were suggested by 70.1% as being a good method 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.

Suggestions from 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.

Higher stress levels

 Looking to understand how respondents’ stress levels have been affected, 28% said they worked longer hours. 

72% said they felt more stress in the last two weeks of March, with 33% saying their levels of stress could increase further if the situation persists for a further two months. 

Self-employed professionals 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.

Participants were asked whether they were at high risk of being infected due to COVID-19, with 33% saying they were. 

65.3% of respondents were healthcare professionals.

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