Decent Work Regulation Project Note
This Project Note introduces the DWR Project and all of our research activities from 2017-21.
The publication summarises the project’s activities, events, and outputs since it was established through an ESRC/GCRF Strategic Network Grant on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) (2017-18). Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the project established a global network that now includes more than 60 research and policy bodies in 20 countries across the world.
In 2018-19, the DWR Project launched Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa), which established a regional network of researchers and stakeholders in southern Africa, conducted research on challenges to labour law enforcement in the region, and generated recommendations for research and regulatory policy.
In 2019, the DWR Project launched the Labour/Data Justice Project (2019-21), which is focusing on the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks that can improve job quality in the context of the digitisation of working life. A first phase of the project will investigate novel law-centred initiatives to secure decent work for domestic workers in Mexico. The focus is on the rapid digitisation of the sector and the challenges it poses for labour/data justice.
Download: DWR Project Note
Labour/Data Justice Project Note
This Project Note on the Labour/Data Justice (LDJ) Project introduces our new research project on working conditions regulation in the context of the digital transformation of working life.
The LDJ Project is supporting a set of linked research and policy activities towards understanding and improving labour market regulation within the context of ‘digitisation.’
A first phase of the project investigates novel, globally-significant, law-centred initiatives to improve the conditions of domestic workers in Mexico. The aim is to generate findings and recommendations that can help to shape national and international legal policy on domestic work and the digitisation working life.
Download: LDJ Project Note
The Framed Flexibility Model is a framework for working time laws that is suited to the contemporary labour markets of the global North and South.
Designed by Deirdre McCann and Jill Murray, the Model responds to an urgent need: to find effective regulatory models for the precarious and informal working relations that are expanding across the advanced industrialised world and have long been characteristic of the South.
Framed Flexibility Principles
The Framed Flexibility Model is informed by key principles: 1) the universality of labour law’s protection; 2) the unity of labour law regimes; 3) work/family reconciliation; 4) the standardisation of working time laws; 5) regulated flexibility; 6) working time capability; 7) the interaction of regulatory techniques (legislation and collective bargaining); and 8) innovative regulation in the design of legal frameworks on working time.
Framed Flexibility Standards
The Framed Flexibility Model is not a universal model to be applied without modification. Instead, it is a resource for the design of measures at a range of regulatory levels and in diverse national settings.
It is underpinned by three sets of standards: 1) Framing Standards, which provide for protected standard working hours; 2) Temporal Flexibility Standards, which provide a degree of flexibility in favour of both employers and workers; and 3) Effective Regulation Standards, which ensure that the Framing Standards and Temporal Flexibility Standards exercise a decisive influence on working life.
An illustration: Model Law on Working Time in Domestic Work
The Model Law on Working Time in Domestic Work (see below) provides a practical illustration of how the Framed Flexibility Standards can be applied in the regulation of working time in one of the key forms of informal labour:domestic work.
However, those sets of standards can be used to design working time standards across the labour force, with a particular focus on preventing casualised work.
Temporal Casualisation and ‘Availability Time’: Mencap, Uber and the Framed Flexibility Model
The below research paper by Professor Deirdre McCann investigates the UK Court of Appeal decisions in Uber and Mencap, which are being heard by the Supreme Court in 2020. The paper explores what these cases reveal about the regulatory dimensions of temporal casualisation. It argues that they expose a fracture between, on the one hand, legal frameworks on working time and wages, and on the other hand, the sectoral and gendered treatment of working hours.
The paper highlights the pertinence of Professor McCann's Framed Flexibility Model to conceptualising and regulating working time in these cases, with a particular focus on Mencap. It advocates that the Supreme Court should uphold and clarify the Court of Appeal’s decision in Uber and overturn the judgment in Mencap.
Download: Policy Briefings and Research Paper
NOVEMBER 2018: DECENT WORK REGULATION IN AFRICA
The Project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) responds to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. To achieve this objective, effective labour regulation is crucial. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the wellbeing of workers and their families.
This project note outlines the aims of the Project, presents our Regional Network on Decent Work Regulation, reports our latest events, and highlights our current research on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (2018-).
To download the document, click here.
NOVEMBER 2018: SUBMISSION ON FAIR WORK FOR THE WELSH GOVERNMENT‘S FAIR WORK COMMISSION
The Fair Work Commission was established by the Welsh Government in July to make recommendations on how to achieve fair work. The Commission has released a call for evidence for organisations and individuals to share their experiences to help ensure fair work in practice and a fairer future for all.
Based on the findings of the Project’s research on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW), the submission advocates for recognising Fair Work employers as those who combat UFW in their workplaces, contractors, and supply chains, and for identifying indicators of fair work.
The submission is particularly concerned with ensuring that casualised forms of work are included in national- and firm-level efforts to improve the quality of working life.
To download the submission, please click here.
DECEMBER 2018: WORK-LIFE, GENDER AND INFORMALITY IN LESOTHO
The Project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) responds to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. To achieve this objective, effective labour regulation is important. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the wellbeing of workers and their families.
This project note focuses on the DWR-Africa in Lesotho, with a particular focus on work-life and gender dynamics and how these relate to informality in - or are associated with - the garment sector.
To download the document, click here.
OCTOBER 2018: SUBMISSION ON DECENT WORK REGULATION FOR THE UK VISIT OF THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTREME POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS (5-16 November 2018)
A submission on Decent Work Regulation has been made for the forthcoming visit to the UK of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (5 to 16 November 2018).
The submission - by Professor Deirdre McCann of Durham Law School, Principal Investigator of the Decent Work Regulation project - highlights the intersection of poverty and labour rights and the need for effective labour regulation in the UK.
The submission highlights the growth of highly casualised jobs in the UK in recent years, which are subjecting an element of the working population to highly variable and unpredictable incomes and can be considered unacceptable forms of work.
The submission concludes that it is essential to find new solutions to protect casual workers and to avert the risk of poverty. More effective interventions would include ‘framed flexibility’ mechanisms e.g. the prohibition of casual work in vulnerable sectors/occupations; notice of schedules and overtime; incentives for continuous hours; compensation for short call-out periods; and the requirement that in-shift travel periods be counted as working time (on the ‘framed flexibility’ model, see further Deirdre McCann and Jill Murray Prompting Formalisation Through Labour Market Regulation 2014 Industrial Law Journal).
JULY 2018: UFW REPORT 2018
Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue/Local Innovation
This report is the product of an international consultation that has involved researchers and policy-makers from 50 research and policy organisations in more than 20 countries across the world. A response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the report calls for effective labour regulation to secure economic growth and decent work (SDG8).
Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue/Local Innovation highlights 10 Global Challenges to effective labour rights. It outlines research agendas that are designed to investigate and respond to each of these Global Challenges by eliminating Unacceptable Forms of Work(UFW).
For further information about the report, please click here.
JUNE 2018: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE REGIONAL MEETING ON DECENT WORK REGULATION IN AFRICA
University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business, 18 June 2018
On 18 June 2018, the Network held a Regional Meeting at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. The Meeting brought together stakeholders from countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including from government Ministries, labour inspectorates, trade unions, employers’ associations, auditors, and retailers.
The Meeting provided the opportunity for a regional dialogue on regulatory strategies that can achieve decent work in the African context. The focus was on the enforcement of labour laws in the garment sector. In particular, participants considered whether involving a range of stakeholders in enforcement - multistakeholders models - can extend the reach of labour standards.
This document outlines the Meeting’s findings and recommendations. It aims to make a useful contribution to the lively debates on effective labour standards, and on decent work in the garment sector, both in Africa and in countries across the world.
To download the document, please click here.
APRIL 2018: UFW PROJECT RESEARCH AGENDAS
The ESRC/GCRF Strategic Network on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work has identifed a set of Global Challenges to effective labour regulation. These are the most urgent and complex issues that face lower-income countries in particular in upgrading or eliminating unacceptable forms of work.
Network Teams composed of researchers from a range of discplines and national and international policy actors have produced research agendas to address each Global Challenge.
To download the research agendas, please click here.
JUNE 2017: UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A MULTIDIMENSIONAL MODEL
Unacceptable forms of work (UFW) have been identified as an “area of critical importance” for the ILO as it approaches its centenary. Yet there is currently no comprehensive elaboration of the dimensions, causes or manifestations of UFW.
On this article published in the International Labour Review (Vol. 156, No. 2, 2017), Professor Deirdre McCann and Professor Judy Fudge report on a research project that has proposed such a framework.
The article first investigates and reconceptualizes key discourses on contemporary work to identify their contribution to an analytically rigorous conception of UFW. It then outlines a novel Multidimensional Model that has been designed for use by local policy actors in identifying and targeting UFW in countries across a range of income levels.
To download the article, please click here.
DECEMBER 2015: LEGAL REGULATION OF UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK
The elimination of unacceptable forms of work (UFW) has been identified by the ILO as an area of critical importance for the future of labour regulation.
This research briefing outlines the research project led by Deirdre McCann (Durham University) and Judy Fudge (McMaster University), which has generated a Multidimensional Model for identifying and addressing UFW.
The Model is designed to be globally relevant. It can be used by local researchers and policy-makers to construct models of UFW suited to regional, national, sectoral and occupational settings.
2015: UNACCEPTABLE FORMS OF WORK: A GLOBAL AND COMPARATIVE STUDY
It compares the concept of UFW to relevant concepts developed by academia and selected international organizations. It also proposes a model to capture the multidimensional nature of unacceptable forms of work in different socio-economic and cultural contexts, and suggests effective approaches to labour market regulation in addressing these forms of work.
NOVEMBER 2014: DECENT WORK FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS: EQUALITY AND LEGAL PROTECTION
Across the globe, domestic work is characterised by working hours that are both extremely long and highly unpredictable.
Domestic workers are employed by private households to provide work that includes cleaning, cooking and caring for children and other family members. They may be needed during the night or at very short notice, especially when they are care workers. Yet, traditionally, domestic workers have been excluded from labour laws, leaving them open to abuse.
This research briefing outlines the research programme on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which has investigated how new laws can be designed to regulate working hours in domestic work. It proposes an original conceptual framework for the regulation of working time in domestic work and a Model Law that can be drawn upon by policy actors to design legislation and collective agreements.