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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 is a critical part of its mission for the future.

SO HOW DO WE DEFINE AN “UNACCEPTABLE FORM OF WORK”?

The ILO emphasises that Unacceptable Forms of Work can take many forms, but its broad definition is as follows:

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

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

Their aim is to work with researchers and policy-makers around the world to determine whether these can be tackled through regulation, and which approaches are most effective.


We have created an interactive model so you can understand the different forms of unacceptability, and learn about successful uses of the model.

Explore this interactive Multidimensional Model:

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This project has been funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account