Public Employment Programmes

  • Employment without compromising quality of assets
  • Basic income security without compromising conditions of work
  • Multi-sectoral Investments without compromising human capital investment


Employment intensive investment approaches and Public Employment Programmes (PEP) over the years have complemented employment creation by the private sector, and offered an additional policy instrument with which to tackle the problem of unemployment and underemployment, especially in times of crises, as part of wider employment and social protection policies. The ILO’s EIIP advocates that PEPs should ideally be designed to provide employment without compromising the quality of assets, basic income-security without compromising conditions of work, and to create multi-sectorial investments without compromising human capital investment.

There has been significant innovation in the area of PEPs in recent years, especially at the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 2008-10, enlarging the scope of options available for public policy in this area. When properly targeted and designed, these programmes help to reduce the vulnerability of the poor strata of the population. With the efficient design and evaluation for the right types of works for the right objectives in mind (e.g. employment creation, predictable and stable income security, provision of assets and services) and with consideration for the different trade-offs, they can significantly reduce the vulnerability of the poor and through a capability approach are potentially able to also increase employability.

These programmes can have an even larger multiplier effect on vulnerable communities by combining the multiple social, environmental and economic objectives of employment generation, income support, and asset creation by restoring the natural resource base to reduce the local impacts of climate change, while also promoting health, education and energy access for all based on a decent work agenda. This is an area of significant innovation which is able to combine these multiple objectives forming part of an equitable and inclusive growth policy, providing dignity through the right to work.