The new international standard provides guidance for member States to facilitate the transition of workers and economic units from the informal to the formal economy, while respecting workers’ fundamental rights and ensuring opportunities for income security, livelihoods and entrepreneurship; promote the creation, preservation and sustainability of enterprises and decent jobs in the formal economy and the coherence of macroeconomic, employment, social protection and other social policies, and prevent the informalization of formal economy jobs.
The informal economy comprises half to three-quarters of all non-agricultural employment in the countries of the region. Although it is hard to generalize concerning the quality of informal employment, it most often means poor employment conditions and is associated with increasing poverty. Some of the characteristic features of informal employment are lack of protection in the event of non-payment of wages, compulsory overtime or extra shifts, lay-offs without notice or compensation, unsafe working conditions and the absence of social benefits such as pensions, sick pay and health insurance. Women, migrants and other vulnerable groups of workers who are excluded from other opportunities have little choice but to take informal low-quality jobs.
The adoption of this Recommendation constitutes a historic landmark event for the world of work, as it points to the desired direction of many countries in making the transition to formality. It provides concrete guidance about the multiple pathways to achieve decent work and to respect, promote and realize the fundamental principles and rights at work for those in the informal economy.
The objectives of the meeting were: to draft national action plans and a regional one to popularize the new ILO Instrument on Informal economy.
The action plans elaborated by participants include the following items:
• To join a global campaign together with the ITUC/PERC and ILO and propagating the R204;
• To draft the national plans to implement the ILO Recommendations;
• To use the Recommendation as a guidance in the organizing work;
• To seek the national and international support to promote the ILO convention.
• Translate the Recommendations to the local languages.
The participants decided to increase their collaboration and mutual support in the promotion of the ILO instrument on informal economy, increase exchange of best practices between organisations in the region and evaluate the implementation of the national action plans.