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Quality of informal work: impacts of the crisis Krastyo Petkov UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria

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Presentation on theme: "Quality of informal work: impacts of the crisis Krastyo Petkov UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria"— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality of informal work: impacts of the crisis Krastyo Petkov UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria

2 Content Tree parts: 1. Theoretical and methodological frame; 2. Statistics: data from the field of informal work and employment; 3. Points for discussion Conclusions: improving or … changing the status of informal workers

3 Preliminary remarks 1. Presentation -based on extended field/action research mainly in the CEE region (2003-2012); 2. Presentation – based on the assumption, that informal work/employment is dominating in the emerging economies (and in the global economy as a whole); 3. The global crisis consolidates this trend and its impacts on the labour markets in the developed countries

4 Part One Theoretical and methodological frame: Concepts - describing informal work/employment and Quality of Work Life (QWL)

5 Changing attitudes and interpretations of informal work Why informal work is growing? Tree factors: 1. Globalization and IT developments: > work/labour decline (wrong prediction); > transnational and internal irregular migration (underestimated) 2. Transition: > transitional recessions in CEE; high unemployment; > deindustrialization/service growth; > deregulation of LM; 3. Economic and financial crisis: Survival strategies; Competitive advantage;

6 RECENT CONCEPTS The ILO NEW DEFINITION- IE INCLUDES: first: employment in the informal sector as defined by ICLS; second: other forms of informal employment /outside the informal sector/ CONCEPT CHANGE Shift from enterprise-based to employment lased definition; The core issue-unregistered employment;

7 What is the informal economy/work? WIEGO definition The informal economy includes all economic activities, enterprises, and workers that are not regulated or protected by the state. Many people think the informal economy includes only the self-employed in small unregistered enterprises. But WIEGO, together with the International Labour Organization (ILO), has successfully advocated for an expanded definition of the informal economy that also includes wage workers in unprotected jobs. Under this expanded definition, the informal economy includes: self-employed in small unregistered or unincorporated enterprises including: °° employers who hire others °° own account operators who do not hire others °° unpaid but contributing family workers wage workers without worker benefits or social protection including: °° unprotected employees of informal enterprises °° unprotected employees of formal firms °° unprotected domestic workers °° casual or day labourers °° sub-contracted workers (called home-workers if they work from their home)

8 Tree segments of Informal work Illegal/criminal Semi- legal (Grey) Legal

9 Part Two Statistics: data from the field of informal work and employment;

10 Informal economy/work trajectory in the CEE Tree stages before crisis:

11 Informal economy/work in the EU 2011

12 Informal economy/work in the EU GE-GDP ratio (in %)

13 Home based workers in the Balkans Cartographic data-2011-2012 АСОЦИАЦИЯ НА НАДОМНИТЕ РАБОТНИЦИ, БЪЛГАРИЯ /WIEGO project/ StateSexAgeType of homeworkers HandlingWorking condition s TimePayOther forms of employment Volunte er МD20- 30 30- 55 55-70 selfentityPlace of work and working condition s Averag e per month Ind ivid uall y or % Em plo ym ent con tra ct Civ il con tra ct Cont ract Pens ion Syn dic ate s Ot he r Total30,8 % 69,2 % 14,2 % 53%32,8%Tailoring Carpentry and wood carving; Souvenirs; Designing; Embroidery; Knitting by hand and machine; Auto Services; Agriculture; Private lessons; Cosmetics; Hairdressing Manicure and pedicure; Jewelry; Pottery; Iconography; Macramé; Pottery; Translators, computer specialists; Martenitsi 67,2%32,8%Home and in the vicinity Use hazardous substances like paints, chemicals, adhesives, fertilizers, dust, insufficient lighting and more. 20090%6,6 % -13%11,6 % 5,6 % 16, 2 %

14 Job security-dominating component of QWL during crisis period (data from ESS-2011)

15 Changed hierarchy of the components of the QWL during crisis HRM under question! Social is the core Survival& competition Lead component: Job security Core components Stress level Reward system Peripheral components Participation in decision making Career Growth& Opportunitie s Free communica tions

16 Part Tree How the global crisis affected Informal economy/work?

17 Towards a new paradigm!? Informal Employment and the Economic Crisis Effects on informal employment Economic crises typically lead to a slowdown in economic activity and critically affect poverty levels and income distribution. As a consequence, the current crisis can be expected to increase unemployment and reduce international labour mobility. Well-established patterns of migration may disappear as workers are forced to return to their countries of origin, and new migrants are discouraged or hindered from pursuing their migration projects. What will be the impact of the crisis on informal employment, including jobs or activities in the production and sales of legal goods and services that are not regulated or protected by the state? Already today, most of the worlds workers are employed informally. According to the latest data available, over 55 percent of non-agricultural employment can be considered informal. Moreover, in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, proportions are even higher and sometimes close to 80 percent. For example, 83 percent in the case of India and even 90 percent in the case of Chad. There are good reasons to believe that these already high figures of informality will increase even further.

18 What are the drivers of informality? Labour market theory suggests an increase in informal activities as a result of economic turmoil: > since informal employment can act as a buffer when people are laid off in the formal sector and need to find new job opportunities; > an economy going into recession might experience a shift from the tradable to the non-tradable sectors, which again would strengthen informality. Empirical evidence supports the predicted shift towards more informal employment.

19 Changing mechanism of job search: growing informalization The majority of today's recent graduates and the newly unemployed who find jobs will do so on the "informal job market" -- without using a job search engine or submitting a formal application. 80% of hiring happens on the informal job market, where formal credentials are much less important than who you know and job requirements are flexible. This includes outside referrals (somebody who knows somebody) and promotions within a company.

20 Informal employment (IE) and the exit from the crisis Is going informal a solution to overcoming the crisis? Despite the fact that IE can act as a shock absorber in times of economic crisis, "going informal" should not be considered an option to overcoming this recession. While IE can offer temporary job prospects, the potential increase of informal employment is overall not good news for developing countries. Informality is closely linked with jobs of bad quality, high risks and insufficient social protection. Growing IE might substantially increase poverty levels, making it impossible for many countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 (the same refers to Europe 2020; Lisabon Strategy is already out of date!) What should be done? Two points can be highlighted: First, neither striving for growth alone nor a formalisation campaign will do the trick. What is required instead is an urgent improvement of social protection and empowerment for those in the informal sector, e.g. by extending existing formal mechanisms to the informal sector or supporting informal mechanisms. Examples include the scaling up of conditional cash transfer programmes, fostering public works and giving a boost to (micro)-insurance schemes that protect against basic risks like health shocks. Second, there is also an urgent need to value informal employment more highly, e.g. by providing better infrastructure and access to resources to informal businesses in order to increase their productivity. As regards to business establishment, this policy implies legal means to separate business assets and providing them with protection comparable to that received by corporate property.

21 Part Four Points for discussion and Conclusions

22 Policy approaches towards undeclared work ApproachMethodMeasures DeterrenceImprove detectionData matching and sharing Joining-up strategy Joining-up operations PenaltiesIncrease penalties for evasion Enabling compliance PreventativeSimplification of compliance Direct & indirect tax incentives Smooth transition into self-employment Introducing new categories of work Micro-enterprise development CurativePurchaser incentives - service vouchers - targeted direct taxes - targeted indirect taxes Supplier incentives - society-wide amnesties - voluntary disclosure - business advisory & support services Fostering commitmentPromoting benefits of declared work Education Peer-to-peer surveillance Tax fairness Procedural justice Redistributive justice

23 Why are we concerned about informal workers? 1. Most of the worlds poor – especially in developing countries – are working. But the working poor are not able to work their way out of poverty. 2. This is because the vast majority of the working poor earn their living in the informal economy where: °° average earnings are low °° costs and risks are high 3. The root causes of low incomes and high risks in the informal economy include: °° lack of productive resources and economic opportunities °° lack of economic rights – as workers and producers °° lack of social protection °° lack of organization and representation 4. The key pathway to poverty reduction is: °° to create more decent work opportunities °° to increase the benefits and reduce the costs of working informally °° to increase the assets, economic rights, social protection, and voice of informal workers

24 What do informal workers want and demand? While specific groups of informal workers have specific needs and demands, all informal workers – especially the working poor – want and demand the following: Economic opportunities: for them to earn incomes and increase their assets, productivity, and competitiveness Economic rights: including labour, commercial, and property rights Social protection: through existing or new schemes Organization: in their own membership-based organizations Representation: in relevant policymaking, collective bargaining, and negotiating processes

25 Some recommendations A three-pronged strategy can then be adapted to the specific situation in a country: 1. For the worlds poor, working informally is often the only way to participate in the labour market. Policies should thus try to unlock these people from their low-productivity activities, enable them to be more productive and provide them with opportunities to climb the social ladder. Specific recommendations include active labour-market policies, such as training and skill-development programmes, that re-open the doors to the formal sector. 2. If informal employment is a deliberate choice to avoid taxes or administrative burdens, governments should aim to establish efficient formal structures that encourage people to join or rejoin the formal market. Countries should aim to introduce formal structures that can offer the same, or higher, levels of the flexibility and efficiency that informal channels may provide. In this way, informal workers, who frequently have strong innovation and growth potential, can more effectively contribute to a countrys overall competitiveness. 3. In many low-income countries, informal employment is mainly a consequence of insufficient job creation in the formal economy. While employment levels in the world have largely followed the growth in working-age populations, there is a need for a general push for more employment opportunities within the formal sector. Governments should support small businesses in complying with formal requirements and encourage large companies to create formal employment opportunities.

26 Points for discussion Sociology needs a new paradigm: informal is normal, not bad! Informal work/employment is growing not only due to the crisis; the future of work is more and more determined by informalisation; Informal employment creates new work culture and carrier options; in the new generation some people begin their carrier in the informal employment, and may be will end in the same sector!





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