Informal Economy, Undeclared Work and Labour Administration

In line with the ILO resolution concerning decent work and the informal economy, adopted at the International Labour Conference in 2002, governments have a key role to play, in consultation with workers and employers, in promoting decent work through the extension of their services to the informal economy. This requires the development of innovative approaches and new tools which can be used by ministries of labour to promote decent work through technical assistance to small and micro-enterprises and independent or self-employed workers. During the current biennium, José Luis Daza, Senior Labour Administration Specialist of the Dialogue Department, worked on this research paper for ministries of labour on the theme “informal economy, undeclared work and labour administration”.

Evidence that a large part of the working population in developing countries
work outside the parameters established by labour and fiscal laws, and that part of
the services and goods produced in industrialized countries are produced
clandestinely, has made the informal economy the focus of attention of economic
and labour policies. Despite the fact that the informal economy is of universal
concern nowadays, the definitions used, the ideas traded, the perception of the
phenomenon, its consequences and the solutions proposed to remedy the associated
problems are not the same in all parts of the world. Furthermore, a great difference
can be seen between the perception and treatment of informality in developing
countries and that in the highly industrialized countries.