UNDP

Labour Rights Risks

Part-time or seasonal workers subject to unequal protections, benefits and working conditions

 

All workers have the right to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to equal pay for equal work.

 

Due to the changeable and impermanent nature of seasonal and part-time work (which can also sometimes include dangerous work), these roles are often undertaken by individuals who may be more willing to accept or agree to unfair working conditions due to the lack of alternatives. These conditions can include being underpaid, forced to repay the employer for use of equipment or housing, absence of sick leave or carer’s leave, the threat of deportation or being reported to authorities in the case of migrant workers and being forced to live in degrading or poor living conditions (particularly in the case of seasonal workers). Seasonal workers may work in remote areas with limited access to services or assistance, be forced to work in unsafe conditions, and may be subject to oppressive working hours.

 

Women, migrants and youth are far more likely to find themselves in part-time or seasonal work.

 

In these underutilized positions of employment, women in particular may be exposed to increased levels of domestic violence, sexual abuse or homelessness. For youth, the reliance on such employment can hinder educational advancement or participation in vocational training programmes. This maintains a cycle of reliance on part-time and seasonal work while reducing the opportunities for future development and prosperity. These workers may be unjustly denied access to finance, adequate and safe housing or job mobility if they wish to change employers. Such disadvantaged groups may also be far less likely to seek redress if treated unfairly or illegally due to a fear of being penalized or prosecuted by local authorities for engaging in illegal work, avoiding tax or breaching visa conditions.

 

Business should seek to ensure that those who engage in part-time or seasonal work are provided with fair working conditions and are not unduly impeded from career and social progression due to the failure to provide such conditions.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

ILO Part-Time Work Convention, 1994 (No. 175)
ILO Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 (No. 95)
ILO Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention,
1988 (No. 168)
ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)


SDG 8

DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

SDG 8.8

Businesses that contribute to workplace safety contribute to SDG 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.