Decent work indicators and tools
Decent work can be measured through statistical indicators which the ILO notes includes employment opportunities, adequate earnings and productive work, decent working time, combining work, family and personal life, work that should be abolished, stability and security of work, equal opportunity and treatment in employment, safe work environment, social security, economic and social context for decent work. Policy should be informed by a combination of these indicators, as presented in the manual. The level of, and change in, single statistical indicators is not sufficient to determine the presence (or absence) of decent work. Instead, it is through the analysis of a full set of selected indicators – including legal framework indicators – that a complex picture emerges of the progress made towards decent work.
The ILO has also provided tools relevant to businesses for the realisation of SDG8 and its targets. Relevant sections of SDG8 are:
- 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
- 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
- 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
- 8.7 Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
- 8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
Five things companies do to promote decent work
Occupational safety: Occupational safety focuses on the health and safety of workers. Businesses should ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure the safety and health of their workers. This includes assessing risks in the workplace, ensuring there are channels through which workers can voice their concerns, and in ensuring that there are continuous ongoing checks and assessments concerning the health and safety of their workers.
Buying practices: A major point of vulnerability for businesses regarding modern slavery risks is in their supply chain. However, little attention is paid to the ways in which the businesses themselves contribute to the exploitation that goes on in supply chains through poor buying practices. Businesses need to ensure they have ethical buying practices. Some points to consider are paying suppliers a fair and sustainable amount and ensuring that they are not putting too much pressure on suppliers for quick production in short timeframes.
Decent wages: A very important aspect of decent work is paying decent wages. One way for businesses to ensure that all their workers across operations are being paid a decent wage is to establish mechanisms to ensure workers can claim their rights through individual complaints as well as collective action
Decent work time: It is important that businesses promote healthy work times for workers, especially for workers in shift-jobs and precarious work. Employers can check with workers about whether or not they are ever required to work more than the legally mandated amount of overtime per day, week or month. Businesses should also develop the necessary requirements and mechanisms to ensure that all different types of work- part-time, night-shifts etc have guidelines and policies that ensure that work time is never abused.
Promoting women in business: Women are especially vulnerable to labour exploitation and becoming modern slavery victims. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses ensure that they have a satisfactory number of women in their work force, and also ensure that they provide a good working environment and appropriate protections against exploitation.