The International Labour Organization (ILO) in its report titled ‘Working from home from invisibility to decent work’ has highlighted the need to adopt Global Labour Standards and improve national-level labour registries for home-based workers (Industrial home-based workers, Teleworkers, Digital Platform workers) & organisations.
i.Prior to COVID-19 crisis i.e 2019, there were 260 Million home-based workers, which represents 7.9% of Global employment and 56% of them were women.
ii.Post COVID-19, the number of home-based workers is expected to surpass the 2019 figures.
iii.The report highlighted one of the clear dangers of home-based work is the use of children in the production process.
iv.The 3 main types of home-based workers about which the report mentioned are:
- Industrial home-based workers – workers involved in production of goods like artisanal production, manufacturing of handicrafts, rolling of beedis, making of laces etc.
- Teleworkers – Workers who use information & communication technologies to perform their work.
- Home-based digital platform workers – ‘crowdworkers’ who perform service-sector tasks.
v.It also noted that the propensity of women to work from home — 11.5 per cent — was much higher than that of men (5.6 per cent).
vi.On an average, homeworkers earn 13% less in the United Kingdom, 22% less in the United States of America, 25% less in South Africa and 50% less in Argentina, India & Mexico.
Ratification of the Convention on Homework:
The report also stated that only 10 countries have ratified the Convention on Homework (Convention No. 177) which promotes equality of treatment between homeworkers & other wage earners.
- The Convention was adopted by the International Labour Conference on June 20, 1996.
- The 10 countries which have ratified the convention are Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, North Macedonia & Tajikistan.
Plight of women rolling Leaf Cigarettes in India:
The report also highlighted the plight of 2.5 Million women rolling beedis (Leaf Cigarettes) in India.
- They were among the ‘Poorest workers in the world of work’, they have worked in pathetic and unsafe conditions.
ILO has put forth several recommendations towards improving the plight of home-workers. They are
- Development and Implementation of a gender-responsive legal and policy framework, which provides equal treatment for all categories of home-based workers.
- Facilitating transition of informal workers to formal employment.
- Better recording of home-based workers to record their earnings, hours worked & other conditions of employment.
- Revision of labour registries to include “place of work” & count home-based workers.
- Better compliance, legal protection, occupational safety & social security for industrial home-based workers.
- Teleworkers face the risk of working overtime and hence will be recommended the “right to disconnect” on their behalf.
Recent Related News:
i.December 5, 2020 According to “Global Wage Report 2020-21: Wages and minimum wages in the time of COVID-19” released by ILO, Women and Lower-paid workers were impacted the most due to decrease in wages because of reduced working hours during the COVID-19 crisis.
About International Labour Organization (ILO):
Director-General – Guy Ryder
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
Member States – 187 member States