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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

What are Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW)?


The ILO emphasises that UFW can take many forms. It has defined UFW as working conditions that ‘deny fundamental principles and rights at work, put at risk the lives, health, freedom, human dignity and security of workers or keep households in conditions of extreme poverty’.

The UFW agenda recognises that an expanding segment of the global workforce is in insecure, unsafe and low-paid labour.


The Multidimensional Model of UFW

Research by Deirdre McCann and Judy Fudge has generated a Multidimensional Model of Unacceptable Work, outlined in a report for the ILO - ‘Unacceptable Forms of Work: A Global and Comparative Study’ (2015).

The Multidimensional Model of UFW (1) outlines the substantive dimensions of UFW (2) empowers local actors to determine priorities for intervention and (3) calls for strategic regulatory responses that have substantial and systems-wide effects. A central finding of the research was the need for novel legal frameworks – and related social and economic policies – that can target UFW.

The report identifies 12 dimensions of Unacceptable Forms of Work, which highlight the many different ways that UFW can appear in workplaces communities across the world:



Explore this interactive Multidimensional Model of Unacceptable Forms of Work:


Please click on the image to open this presentation on Prezi