The regional course entitled “Transition from the Informal to the Formal economy” will contribute to the key expected changes to be achieved in the biennium in the field of informal economy namely:
- Improved and comprehensive national legal and policy frameworks that facilitate the transition to formality, guided by R204 - Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 104th Session (2015);
- Strengthened awareness and capacity of constituents to facilitate the transition to formality, drawing on an expanded knowledge base;
- Gender equality and the needs of vulnerable groups in the informal economy are addressed when facilitating the transition to formality.
The informal economy comprises around half of the global workforce and women and youth account for a disproportionate share of workers within the informal economy. This presents a major challenge to inclusive development and has a negative impact on sustainable enterprises, productive employment, and the attainment of decent work for all, government revenue and fair competition in national and international markets.
The majority of workers within the informal economy lack decent employment, social protection including social security coverage, fundamental principles and rights at work, voice, organization, representation and are often trapped in poverty. Hazardous working conditions are common in the informal economy, often leading to a high incidence of work-related accidents and diseases, incapacitation or death, which further plunge families deeper into poverty. Gender discrimination and the phenomenon of child labour in the informal economy are widespread, with agriculture being the most affected sector.
From a decent work perspective, transition to formality is cast within each of the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda namely: guaranteeing rights at work, creating decent and productive jobs, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue and tripartism. The intrinsic value is essentially in the integration and the interaction against the policy actions covered under each of them. A right-based approach that guarantees workers’ access to the enabling rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining is a necessary precondition for realizing formality.
Against this backdrop, this regional course seeks to improve the technical competences of trade unionists to identify and address the underlying causes of informality and the barriers to entry into the economic and social mainstream. Participants will be encouraged to design policies and strategies that contribute to the incorporation of workers and economic units from the informal economy into the formal economy and to prevent informalization of formal employment and enterprises. Special attention will be devoted to a critical analysis of the challenges and opportunities of transitioning to formality through the application of suitable approaches, tested tools, good practices and above all the use of the ILO’s Recommendation No. 204. The main expected outcomes of this training from a long term perspective are decent working conditions, better protection and improved wages/income for workers, increased productivity and economic return for economic units, healthier labour market and more sustainable and inclusive development, and fairer societies. A Workers’ Guide focused on the Recommendation No. 204 (2015) will be pre-tested in the course.