Promoting Rights and Social Inclusion through Organization and Formalization (PRS)

Building Resilience for the Future of Work and the Post COVID19.

At a glance

Federal Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, provincial Labour Departments, employers’ organizations, and industry associations, workers’ organizations, migrant workers associations and non-governmental organizations.
1 year: March 2021- March 2022
Target beneficiaries
Workers in vulnerable situation in the informal economy effected by COVID crisis, migrant workers, workers in the care sector, home based workers, domestic workers, , own account workers and other workers such as daily wage workers.
Geographical focus

Nationwide in Pakistan - with a focus on informal economy workers like home based workers, domestic workers, agriculture workers, migrant workers and daily wage workers etc. At the global level, the project covers Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Project Objectives

The share of informal employment is 82.0 per cent in Pakistan, with the share of women is 90.6 per cent and the share of men is 79.6 per cent. The 10 sectors most exposed to informality are agriculture (99.3%), construction (93.5%), other services (89.2%), accommodation and food (86.5%), art and recreation (86.2%), transport (84.8%), wholesale, retail trade (83.3%), domestic work (82.3%), manufacturing (76.6%) and mining (73.9%).
Home-Based Workers (HBW) are one of the largest categories of ‘Informal Economy Workers’ in Pakistan which was severely hit by COVID-19. There are an estimated 12 million home-based workers in Pakistan spread across all four Provinces. Most are women, who earn on average PKR 3,000–4000 per month on a ‘piece rate’ basis and are not covered by social protection. Most workers in the sector have been hit hardest by reduced economic activity. Own account workers and casual wage earners (daily paid employees) face particular difficulties as they have few options to work from home, take time off, or avoid commuting in order to practice social distancing. Informal economy workers face a lot of problems including but not only limited to a lack of formal contract, are not linked to any social security schemes, don’t have regular working hours, are prone to workplace and sexual harassment, and don’t have legal protection through legislation in the country.
In order to mainstream the informal economy workers to decent work and formal economy it is imperative to build on the existing good practices by the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, steady progress is needed to support the gradual formalization process which can result in increasing resilience and promoting decent work for all.
  • The project aims to contribute to the creation of the future of work where all workers, particularly those in vulnerable situations are recognized and protected and can enjoy decent work.
  • The overall priority of this project is to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, particularly in relation to workers and economic units in vulnerable situations.
  • The project will build on the existing mechanisms and practices where they exist for scaling up formalization
  • Promoting the transition from the informal to the formal economy for building a resilient future of work.

Main Activities

  • Strengthen the capacity of workers’ organizations in advocating for legal recognition and access to rights and entitlements in relation to their work.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the employers’ organizations to extend their support to economic units in the informal economy to formalize and promote sustainable enterprises
  • Promoting social dialogue on better protecting vulnerable workers in informal economy in response to COVID19.
  • Organize informal economy workers and facilitate workers registration to access social protection measures where available, and to advocate for appropriate protection mechanisms for them, where mechanisms are absent.
  • Support to the social partners for formulization of gender responsive policy recommendations for extending the registration and protection coverage to the workers in the informal economy n various contexts and situations.
  • Identification of economic units invulnerable situations especially those led by women and support by employers’ organizations /associations in accessing relief packages and working towards growth oriented and sustainable enterprises.

Project Outcomes

The project has two outcomes as follows:
  • Outcome 1: Enhanced understanding on the importance of and pathways for formalizing the informal economy and addressing structural barriers to gender equality for sustainable development among representatives of government and social partners in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
  • Outcome 2: Strengthened capacity of social partners in supporting voice and representation of those in vulnerable situations including women workers and providing policy recommendations for formalization in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.