ILS and Non-Standard Employment Relationships
Today’s world of work features a wide and increasing variety of work relationships that diverge from the so-called ‘standard’ full-time, bilateral, permanent employment relationship characterized by the performance of work in the employers’ premises and under the employers’ direct supervision. These contractual arrangements can be useful vehicles for entering the labour market or reconciling work, personal life, and family responsibilities. In such cases, workers are protected through legislation or collective bargaining. However, in other cases, workers may not be covered by labour laws and social protection, or may receive less protection since labour laws and social protection systems have traditionally been built around the ‘standard’ employment relationship.
The protection of this portion of workers has been a topic of growing importance in recent years and the urgency to enhance such protection is being accentuated by the global economic and financial crisis. Moreover, persons belonging to disadvantaged or discriminated groups, such as women, young and migrant workers, are often over-represented among this group of workers. Broadening the scope and enhancing the protection of these workers is thus an essential means by which to tackle labour market inequalities and guarantee decent work for all. It is also part of the commitment made by the international community to respond to the crisis with policies and measures that protect the most vulnerable. Both governments and social partners have key roles to play through legislation, collective bargaining and social dialogue. Invaluable guidance is offered to them by the international labour standards (ILS) adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Since the 1990s, the ILO has adopted a number of Conventions and Recommendations that deal specifically with categories of workers who are in ‘non-standard’ employment relationships such as part-time workers, home workers and agency workers. In 2006, it adopted a Recommendation on determining the scope of the employment relationship. In 2011, it adopted a new Convention and a new Recommendation on domestic workers. These instruments, together with national and regional experiences, are the focus of the training courses offered by ITCILO.