The International Labor Organization (ILO) warns in its latest report that telework is lower paid, even for the most skilled professions. “Homeworkers earn on average 13% less in the United Kingdom, 22% less in the United States, 25% less in South Africa and around 50% less in Argentina, India and Mexico,” says the ILO in its Last report entitled «Home work. From invisibility to decent work ”.
These differences are based, as pointed out in the aforementioned analysis, to the fact that telework usually takes place in the private sphere and therefore, in most cases it is “invisible”. “In low- and middle-income countries, for example, almost all home-based workers (90%) carry out their work informally,” the study reads.
Likewise, the ILO emphasizes that people who work remotely from the workplace must face greater risks in terms of health and safety and have more restricted access to training programs compared to face-to-face employees, a circumstance that can adversely affect your career path. If you work at home, the probability of being part of a union or being in collective agreements also decreases, according to the analysis conclusions.
Faced with this situation and the lack of specific labor regulations in many countries, from the ILO demand greater protection for these workers. “Many countries have legislation, sometimes supplemented by collective agreements, that closes gaps in order to promote decent employment with respect to home work. Only ten member states of the ILO have ratified Convention No. 177, by virtue of which equal treatment is promoted between home workers and other salaried workers; on the other hand, few countries have a comprehensive policy on home work, ”says Janine Berg, ILO Senior Economist and co-author of the report.
The rulers are also called upon to undertake concrete measures to mitigate psychosocial risks and respect the “right to disconnect” in order to clearly define the professional and personal fields
A growing number
The ILO estimates that during the first months of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, around one in five workers did their work from home. Therefore, once the 2020 data are available as a whole, it is expected that they will highlight “a substantial increase over the previous year”. It is also foreseeable that the number of telecommuters will continue to increase over the next few years.
Before the coronavirus crisis, there were around 260 million home-based workers worldwide, a figure that represents 7.9% of global employment. In addition, 56% of these workers were women, including workers who perform non-automated tasks in the production sector, such as embroidery, handicraft or electronic assembly tasks.