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Decent Work Regulation

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The Project on Decent Work Regulation (DWR) responds to UN Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) 8, which promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. 

To achieve these objectives, labour regulation is crucial. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the well-being of workers and their families.

Effective labour regulation is one of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century. There is substantial potential for innovative laws that can effectively achieve decent work, especially in Low and Middle Income Countries. In response to this demand, the DWR Project supports a set of linked research and policy activities towards understanding and improving labour market regulation across the world - see below.

Unacceptable Forms of Work (2015-18)

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The Strategic Network on Legal Regulation of Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) (2017) was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The project built a global network that now includes more than 60 research and policy bodies in 20 countries across the world.

The UFW Project generated a set of Research Agendas on regulatory challenges shared by the global North and South. These include casual work in a range of forms (e.g. “day labour”, “zero hours contracts”, “on-call work”); forced labour; informal employment; the prevalence of violence and harassment in certain jobs and sectors, including in the care sector and in domestic work; and the ineffective enforcement of labour standards.

View the report: Unacceptable Forms of Work: Global Dialogue / Local Innovation (2018)


Decent Work Regulation in Africa (2018-20)

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The Project on Decent Work Regulation in Africa (DWR-Africa) was centred on effective regulatory strategies for decent work in southern Africa, with a particular focus on the garment sector. Funded by Durham University (UK) through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)/Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Project was a collaboration between Durham University (UK), the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and York University (Canada).

DWR-Africa established a regional network of researchers and stakeholders in southern Africa, conducted research on challenges to labour law enforcement in the region, and generated recommendations for research and regulatory policy.

Findings and Recommendations of the Regional Meeting on Decent Work Regulation in Africa


Labour/Data Justice (2019-21)

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The DWR Project reached a new stage in 2019 in the Labour/Data Justice project.

Labour/Data Justice investigates the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks that respond to the datafication of working life. The focus is on the role of labour regulation in sustainable development within a context of the datafied transformation of working life. See further here.