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. Though working from home has long been an important feature of the world of work, the institutions that govern the labour market are rarely designed with the home as a workplace in mind. The sudden rise in homeworking brings renewed urgency to the need to appreciate the implications of home work for both workers and employers. This report seeks to improve understanding of home work and to advance guidance on policies that can pave the way to decent work for homeworkers both old and new.
“A quarter century after Convention No. 177, this timely and comprehensive report on industrial homework, telework, and digital platforms illuminates tensions between working at home and earning a living, the gendered dimensions involved, and the gap between legal definitions and everyday experiences. As a guide to best practices, it underscores how social protection and labor standards for home workers can provide decent work for increasing numbers of people in the face of the gig economy, attenuated supply chains, and care deficits made more intense by the global pandemic. In defining the issue, the ILO offers tools for action. A stunning achievement.”
- Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA