The informal economy and the ILO: a legal perspective

La Hovary, C. (2014) The informal economy and the ILO: a legal perspective. International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, 30(4), pp. 391-411.

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Many workers, employers and enterprises around the world are, to varying degrees, in a situation of 'informality'. Although intuitive, the notion of 'informality' is however not easy to define. For many, it evokes a sense of hardship, characterized by precarity, vulnerability, poverty, exploitation and exclusion, for example. It can however have very different connotations for others, who might associate 'informality' with autonomy, entrepreneurialism, or freedom from bureaucratic constraint. Whatever the perspective, however, 'informality' can have a whole range of different potential causes, and their identification, as well as the remedies suggested to overcome them, will vary. Having said this, the concept of 'informality' arguably poses a number of specific challenges from a legal perspective, more specifically concerning how the notion fits within the international and national legal framework relating to the protection of workers. This article proposes to examine these challenges, and the evolution of the understanding of 'informality' within the International Labour Organization (ILO), in light of the recent suggestion that the ILO adopt a recommendation on 'facilitating gradual transitions from the informal economy to the formal economy'. The ILO is an important reference point when discussing informality, on the one hand because of its role in introducing the notion into global development debates, and on the other hand, because of its important role with regards to improving working conditions, and the concerns raised by informality in this respect.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:La Hovary, Dr Claire
Authors: La Hovary, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations
Publisher:Kluwer Law International
ISSN (Online):1875-838X

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