The Informal Economy and Decent Work: A Policy Resource Guide supporting transitions to formality

This practical Policy Resource Guide is the first initiative to bring together a synthesis of knowledge, policy innovations and good practices facilitating transition to formality.

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1.Decent Work and the Informal Economy
Explores the main conceptual issues including what is the informal economy, who is in it and what are the main drivers of informality ? It emphasizes that informality manifests itself in different ways according to different country contexts and labour market characteristics.
 1.1 Key conceptual issues
2.Measurement of the Informal Economy
Examines the methodological issues related to the collection of accurate data on the informal economy. It highlights the innovations from the international statistical community which will enable data on the informality to be captured more fully.
 2.1 Addressing statistical challenges
3.Growth Strategies and Quality Employment Generation
Examines the complex relationship between economic growth and informality. It makes the case for employment-centred macro-economic policies explicitly targeted to curbing informality.
 3.1 Patterns of economic growth and the informal economy
4.The Regulatory Framework and the Informal Economy
This thematic area covers ten technical briefs, which are divided into three subsections (A) international Labour Standards, (B) Specific Groups and (C) Labour Administration. Among the briefs in this section are a survey of ILO Conventions and Recommendations most pertinent to the informal economy; the challenges of applying labour law to micro and small enterprises; a brief on the issues surrounding the employment relationship; technical briefs on gaps in the regulatory frameworks covering specific groups, and briefs examining the scope of labour administration and labour inspection to reach the informal economy.
 AInternational Labour Standards
 4.a1 The Regulatory Environment and the informal economy: setting a social floor for all who work
 4.a2 International Labour Standards (ILS): bringing the unprotected under the law
 4.a3 Understanding the employment relationship and its impact on informality
 BSpecific Groups
 4.b1 Domestic Workers: strategies for overcoming poor regulation
 4.b2 Homeworkers: reducing vulnerabilities through extending and applying the law
 4.b3 Street vendors: innovations in regulatory support
 4.b4 Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs), informality and labour law: reducing gaps in protection
 4.b5 Strategies for transforming undeclared work into regulated work
 CLabour Administration
 4.c1 Labour administration: overcoming challenges in reaching the informal economy
 4.c2 Labour inspection and the informal economy: innovations in outreach
5. Organization, Representation and Dialogue
Social dialogue is an essential component of democratic policy making on the informal economy, and good governance in the labour market in general. This section looks at the diverse ways in which informal economy actors are organizing, mobilizing and engaging in social dialogue.
 5.1 Social dialogue: promoting good governance in policy making on the informal economy
 5.2 The role of Employers’ organizations and small business associations
 5.3 Trade unions: reaching the marginalized and excluded
 5.4 Cooperatives: a stepping stone out of informality
6.Promoting Equality and Addressing Discrimination 
Examines issues of discrimination and exclusion from formal labour markets which pushes particular groups into informality. It also examines segmentation within informal labour markets and makes the case for inclusive approaches based on equal opportunities for marginalized groups.
 6.1 Promoting women’s empowerment: a gendered pathway out of informality
 6.2 Migrant workers: policy frameworks for regulated and formal migration
 6.3 Disability: inclusive approaches for productive work
7.Entrepreneurship, Skills Development, Finance
This section comprises three briefs: the brief on informal enterprises examines the incentive structures, supports and services which can encourage them to both formalize and upgrade; the brief on skills development looks at how skills upgrading can enhance access to the mainstream economy and the brief on microfinance details how it can be used as a catalyst out of informality through incentives and targeting.
 7.1 Informal enterprises: policy supports for encouraging formalization and upgrading
 7.2 Enhancing skills and employability: facilitating access to the formal economy
 7.3 Microfinance and the informal economy: targeted strategies to move out of informality
8.Extension of Social Protection
This section currently contains four briefs. Firstly, on innovative practices in social security and health insurance in an effort to extend social security to all; and three briefs reviewing evolving practices in child care, maternity protection and measures to address the economic and social exclusion of those living with HIV/AIDS.
 8.1 Extending social security coverage to the informal economy
 8.2 HIV/AIDS: overcoming discrimination and economic exclusion
 8.3 Extending maternity protection to the informal economy
 8.4 Childcare: an essential support for better incomes
9.Local Development Strategies
This section examines the potential of local development strategies to generate integrated measures to support the move out of informality for poor communities.
 9.1 Local development: opportunities for integrated strategies for moving out of informality