Decent working time: Balancing workers' needs with business requirements


The ILO has defined a concept of “decent work” that involves promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity, in order to decrease the differences which exist between people’s aspirations regarding their work and their current work situations (ILO, 1999).

One of the important steps in the ILO’s quest for decent work is the enhancement of working time. In order to improve working conditions around the globe, working time issues need to be tackled on multiple levels in order to close the different types of “gaps” between workers’ actual and preferred hours of work, as well as to advance the competitiveness of enterprises.