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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

What are Unacceptable Forms of Work?

Having a job does not necessarily guarantee decent quality of life.

Across the world, millions of people are working in insecure jobs, in unsafe conditions, for inadequate pay, or in abusive work environments.

The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has stated that eliminating Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW) is a critical part of its mission.


The ILO emphasises that Unacceptable Forms of Work can take many forms. The Organization has defined UFW as follows:

In a 2015 report for the ILO, Professor Deirdre McCann (Durham Law School) and Professor Judy Fudge (Kent Law School) identified 12 dimensions of Unacceptable Forms of Work. These highlight the many different ways that UFW can appear in workplaces communities across the world.

Read "Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study"

The aim of the GCRF/ESRC Strategic Network on Legal Regualtion of Unacceptable Forms of Work is to bring together researchers and policy-makers across the world to determine whether UFW can be tackled through regulation, and which approaches are most effective.

Explore this interactive Multidimensional Model:

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