Support for the transition to formality in the household services, agriculture and fisheries sectors in Jamaica

This project builds on previous ILO undertakings in Jamaica linked to Recommendation No. 204 concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the informal economy in Jamaica was estimated at 34.2-42.6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Informal employment accounted for approximately 50% of total employment. The global impact of COVID-19 and public health responses from the Government have devastated Jamaica’s tourism and other formal economic sectors but shut downs, social distancing and community quarantines have been especially catastrophic for the livelihoods of informal workers. Among them, roughly 45,000 female domestic workers and 200,000 fishers / agriculture workers who are unregistered or in informal work are also excluded from benefits under social security schemes or other emergency economic relief programmes.

This project provides technical and financial support to national collaborating partners and key stakeholders to carry out actions aligned with several important objectives and results set out in the National Transition to Formality Action Plan 2020-2022 (TFAP). These and other urgent actions have been deemed necessary to mitigate the increased vulnerability of targeted workers induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.


This project builds on previous ILO undertakings in Jamaica linked to Recommendation No. 204 concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy
and broadly focuses on:

(a) reducing informality in employment arrangements for workers in domestic work, agriculture and fishing;

(b) increasing formalization of business units and actors in agriculture and fishing.

Specific activities will address:
  1. Research on the impact of COVID 19 and on specific activities in the informal economy;
  2. Enhancing institutional capacity of collaborating partners and institutions to provide services, skills training and business development support to workers and micro and small enterprises (MSEs) to promote transition to the formal economy;
  3. Improving public awareness and understanding on procedures and benefits of formalization, to shift social norms, identified as barriers to action in the TFAP;
  4.  Providing vulnerable groups- female domestic workers; micro/small farmers- with financial and non-financial support for entrepreneurial initiatives for improved income security and as incentives towards formalization.

Expected results:

  • Persons working in these three sectors have improved understanding of the benefits, procedures and requirements for registration, based on effective, targeted public information and education campaigns, and through dedicated facilitation services and support from Government and social partners.
  • Collaborating national Ministries, Agencies and Organisations are equipped with information, technical knowledge and regulatory frameworks to advance the transition to formality.
  • Economic vulnerability of domestic workers, agriculture and fishing operators is reduced through facilitation of training and business development support for formalization