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Non-standard employment around the world: understanding challenges, shaping prospects

Gig economy Platform worker rights Task economy Labour rights Future of work Work insecurity

Non-standard forms of employment (hereinafter “non-standard employment”, or “NSE”) have become a contemporary feature of labour markets around the world. Their overall importance has increased over the past few decades in both industrialized and developing countries, as their use has become more widespread across economic sectors and occupations.

NSE comprises four different employment arrangements that deviate from the “standard employment relationship”, understood as work that is full time, indefinite, as well as part of a subordinate relationship between an employee and an employer.

For some, working in NSE is an explicit choice and has positive outcomes. However, for most workers, employment in NSE is associated with insecurity. NSE can also pose challenges for enterprises, the overall performance of labour markets and economies as well as societies at large.

Supporting decent work for all requires an in-depth understanding of NSE and its implications. This report details trends and consequences of NSE and draws on international labour standards and national experience to advance policy recommendations that help to ensure protection of workers, sustainable enterprises and well-functioning labour markets.

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