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ILO calls for National-level policy for Home-based Workers in New report

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Post-COVID-ILO-calls-for-national-level-policy-on-those-working-from-homeThe 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’s Recommendations:

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.

Click here to read the full report

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