ILO calls for ensuring better protection for homeworkers

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said that those working from home, whose number has greatly increased due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, need better protection. An ILO report Working from home”  From invisibility to decent work states that with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, large portions of the world’s workforce shifted to homeworking, joining hundreds of millions of other workers who had already been working from home for decades.

The report states then the world was brutally hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, wide swathes of the world’s workers turned almost overnight to home work as a way of protecting both their jobs and their lives. There is no doubt that home work is likely to take on greater importance in the years to come. It is thus time for governments, in cooperation with workers’ and employers’ organizations, to heed the guidance of Convention No. 177 and Recommendation No. 184 and work together to ensure that all homeworkers – whether they are weaving rattan in Indonesia, making shea butter in Ghana, tagging photos in Egypt, sewing masks in Uruguay, or teleworking in France – move from invisibility to decent work.

The report includes concrete recommendations to make homeworking more visible and thus better protected. For industrial homeworkers, the report underlines the importance of facilitating their transition to the formal economy by extending legal protections, improving compliance, generalizing written contracts, providing access to social security and making homeworkers aware of their rights.

For home-based, digital platform workers, whose activities raise particular challenges for compliance as they cross multiple borders, the report advocates the use of data generated by their work to monitor working conditions and tools to set fair wages.

For teleworkers, the report calls on policymakers to put in place specific actions to mitigate psychosocial risks and introduce a “right to disconnect”, to ensure respect for the boundaries between working life and private life.

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