Informal and precarious workers
Most workers in the informal economy do not have access to social protection. In addition, many workers in precarious conditions are insufficiently protected. Expanding social protection coverage to these groups of workers can reduce their vulnerability, improve income security and health care access, enable them to plan ahead, and help facilitate their transition to the formal economy. The ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) makes explicit reference to workers in the informal economy. In addition, the ILO Transition from the Formal to the Informal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204) provides guidance for improving the protection of workers in the informal economy, and for facilitating transitions to the formal economy.
The extension of social protection to workers in the informal economy remains a formidable challenge in many countries with high rates of informality. However, some countries have made impressive progress in covering more workers through contributory schemes. Some countries have done this by including previously uncovered workers in existing schemes; adapting benefits, contributions and administrative procedures to take these groups’ need into account; and by subsidizing contributions for those on very low incomes (e.g. social health insurance). In other countries, the extension of social security to larger groups of the population was done through a large-scale expansion of social protection mechanisms (e.g. social pensions) to previously uncovered groups, independently of their employment status, and largely financed through government revenue.
Human rights monitoring bodies have called upon States parties to take effective measures to ensure that informal workers are able to exercise their labour rights, including their right to social security without discrimination (e.g., Concluding Observations CESCR, E/C.12/PRY/CO/3 (CESCR, 2008); Concluding Observations CEDAW CEDAW/C/BIH/CO/4-5 (CEDAW, 2013) and CEDAW/C/DJI/CO/1-3 (CEDAW, 2011).
The Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights explicitly call on States to “take specific measures to ensure that persons living in poverty, in particular women and those working in the informal economy, have access to social security benefits, including social pensions, which are sufficient to ensure an adequate standard of living and access to health care for them and their families” (Principle 86 (c)).
Photo credit: “India 3 Gender” by Trocaire (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).
Reforma del capítulo octavo del título segundo del Código del Trabajo, Ley 2. Ley del trabajo doméstico remunerado. Define a las trabajadoras domésticas como aquellas que brindan asistencia y bienestar a una familia o persona, en forma remunerada, y que se dedican a las labores de limpieza, cocina, lavado, planchado y demás labores propias de […]
Permite al contribuyente que paga impuesto sobre la renta y emplear a una trabajadora doméstica, deducir de su declaración de impuesto a las ganancias conseguidas mensual del 12% a la Seguridad Social, en relación con la contribución del empleador. Regula los días de descanso y licencia por maternidad de las trabajadoras domésticas.
Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204)
This Recommendation recognizes the lack of protection of workers in the informal economy, and provides guidance for improving their protection and facilitating transitions to the formal economy. It also recognizes that decent work deficits – the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection and the absence […]
Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)
Recommendation No. 202 is the first international instrument to offer guidance to countries to close social security gaps and progressively achieve universal protection through the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive social security systems. To this aim, the Recommendation calls for (1) the implementation, as a priority, of social protection floors (SPF) as a fundamental element […]
Social Protection for Informal Workers in Asia
Asia’s growing labor force needs innovative solutions to reduce risks and ensure social protection of workers in vulnerable employment with informal arrangements. This book examines the need to expand social protection coverage of the informal sector to support working age productivity, reduce vulnerability, and improve economic opportunity. Case studies from Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of […]
Formalizing Domestic Work
Many countries around the world are at the onset of a care crisis: with the ageing of the population, and continually increasing rates of female labour participation, families are increasingly turning to domestic workers to care for their homes, children, and ageing parents. While an increasing share of domestic work is part of the formal […]
Trade unions in the informal sector: Finding their bearings
These nine national studies cover four regions of the world and reveal the stakes and problems which the multifaceted informal sector poses for the trade union movement, irrespective of the level of development in the countries under consideration. The studies are based on the information available and represent testimonies which are worthy of consideration and […]
Builders’ Social Fund: A bipartite sectoral approach for construction workers (Romania)
Since 1998, Romania’s Builders’ Social Fund, or Casa Socială a Constructorilor (CSC), has provided income protection for workers in the construction sector during the interruption of work in winter. The CSC is a non-profit organization based on a sectoral social agreement. It operates on a bipartite basis. It is governed by a general assembly which […]