ILO calls for equal treatment for workers

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for governments around the world to ensure equal treatment among workers, including those in non-standard employment due to the emergence of the gig economy.

Fri, 18 Nov 2016

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called for governments around the world to ensure equal treatment among workers, including those in non-standard employment due to the emergence of the gig economy.

The recommendation comes in an ILO report, published today and entitled ‘Non-standard employment: Understanding challenges, shaping prospects’.

The ILO calls on governments to develop policies that establish minimum guaranteed hours for on-call workers and give workers a say in their work schedules; legislation and enforcement to address employment misclassification; as well as restricting some uses of non-standard employment to address abuse, such as preventing temporary agency workers to replace workers during industrial.

For workers in employment relationships involving multiple parties, the ILO says there is a need to ensure that employers using agency or ‘leased’ workers are held responsible for the health & safety of these workers and are also liable for payment of wages and social security benefits if the contracting firm becomes insolvent.

The ILO also recommends that collective bargaining should be strengthened by building union capacity to represent workers in non-standard jobs, while the ILO also called for social security systems to be adapted to increase the coverage of workers in non-standard jobs, by lowering thresholds on minimum hours, earnings or duration of employment, making systems more flexible with regards to contributions required to qualify for benefits, allowing for interruptions in contributions and enhancing the portability of benefits. The ILO also calls for the introduction of universal policies guaranteeing a basic level of social protection for workers in non-standard jobs.

The subject of equal rights for workers in non-standard jobs was thrust into the spotlight due to a landmark ruling made recently by a London employment tribunal that looked into the claim brought by drivers for ride-hailing app Uber.

The ruling means Uber drivers in the UK will now be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Minimum Wage. Uber has said it would appeal the decision.

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