On 10th September 2020, the Labour and Employment Ministers of the G20 released a declaration on Labour and Employment following their virtual meeting focusing on ‘Empowering People’ and ‘Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.’ The Declaration’s introduction reads as follows “This year, COVID-19 has brought an unprecedented global challenge with significant human costs. Fighting and overcoming the pandemic remains our highest and overriding priority. We recognize the importance of protecting and promoting decent jobs for all, especially for women and youth, within our domestic and global labour markets. We support comprehensive, robust and adaptive social protection systems and we are committed to tackling inequalities, including gender inequalities. We acknowledge the value of bringing together technology and a human-centred approach including by using behavioural insights in employment policymaking”.
The Declaration focuses on the following:
- An economic recovery needs to have a job-centric focus to ensure that labour market and economic recovery efforts prioritise sustainable and inclusive growth in quality employment and job creation.
- A commitment to provide good framework conditions and support for employers, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), to sustain their businesses, create more flexible and resilient business models and to retain employees, subject to national circumstances.
- The development of social protection systems should support sustainable and inclusive growth and quality job creation and be sufficiently robust and adaptable to provide access to adequate support for all.
Regarding the “Policy Options for Adapting Social Protection to Reflect the Changing Patterns of Work”, the Declaration underlines that the classification of workers employment status has significant implications for workers’ rights and access to adequate social protection for all. “We recognize that correct classification will help support the creation of regulations and policies to reduce social protection gaps, help minimize worker exploitation and ensure fair support from employers”. On this basis, the Ministers endorsed, among other issues, the following commitments:
- Providing access to information for employers and workers to help ensure that they are aware of and understand how existing regulations on employment classification and status apply to them.
- Reducing incentives for employers and workers to incorrectly classify employment relationships as self-employment.
- Providing clarity and options for workers choosing to be self-employed to be classified as such, in accordance with national classification systems.
- Reducing the size of the “grey zone” between self-employment and dependent employment by providing clarification to workers and employers regarding their rights and responsibilities.
- Ensuring that the relevant authorities take quick, fair and clear decisions that reduce uncertainties regarding employment status for both employers and workers.
- Ensuring that public services, such as registration of workers with social insurance schemes, are as easy and as effective as possible, and at low cost, including through the use of adequate online tools.
- Establishing a simple, quick, and affordable procedure for challenging decisions on employment status for both workers and employers, subject to national circumstances.
- Ensuring that competent authorities, including labor inspectorates, are able to adequately and effectively monitor and detect breaches.
- Recognizing the challenges faced by those who provide services internationally, ensuring access to adequate social protection for all, regardless of the workers' employment status and geographical location.
Finally, the Declaration reaffirmed that “the importance of sharing best practices through the G20 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Experts Network on mitigating measures to improve occupational safety and health policies and to protect all workers, including those who have been impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
In addition, the Saudi B20 (The voice of the private sector of the G20 community) has recently published the final B20 recommendations of the “Future of Work and Education Task Force”.
The recommendations and policy actions follow a construct of three themes, namely:
- Building confidence, dynamism and resilience in future labour markets.
- Jumpstarting the engines for growth.
- Designing future-ready human capital.