June 23rd, 2021
The G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting ended today in Catania with the approval of a final Declaration that verges on three topics that the Italian Presidency has placed at the core of the debate for this year: women’s employment and gender inequality in the labour market, the adaptation of social protection systems to the ongoing labour market transformations, and the regulation of rapidly spreading forms of employment such as work performed remotely or through digital platforms.
More and better and equally paid jobs for women. This is the principle embodied in a Declaration that goes beyond the goal of reducing labour market participation gaps by 25% by 2025, as set in Brisbane in 2014 by G20 Leaders. The new commitment is to promote employment for women tout court, with particular attention to job quality and remuneration and tackling the gender pay gap. In the sense annex to the document, the Labour Ministers underline the need for a multidimensional approach to gender gaps, starting from the fight against stereotypes – already in the education system – and focusing both on a reduction in the disproportionate amount of care work performed by women and on addressing horizontal and vertical segregation in the labour market.
Regarding social protection, the crisis following Covid-19 has highlighted that still too many groups do not have an adequate safety net against the risk of unemployment and income loss: temporary workers, low-income self-employed, but also informal workers and migrants. In order to make social security systems more responsive and flexible in case of a crisis, but also sustainable, adequate and accessible to all, the Labour Ministers have agreed upon the need to expand the current contributory system coverage but also to strengthen social protection floors, with the aim of reducing persistent economic and social inequalities and strengthening social cohesion. As families’ needs keep evolving, it will be even more crucial to extend to all citizens basic rights such as schooling and healthcare, but also other forms of support such as a minimum guaranteed income. Finally, employment plays a central role in fostering social inclusion of the most vulnerable, who have to supported by socio-economic support measures, in order to allow them to fully realize their own social and working career potential.
Smart working has allowed many economic activities to survive and continue throughout the crisis, both in the public and private sector. The Labour Ministers have acknowledged its potential, in particular regarding the possibility for workers to better reconcile work and private life, but have reaffirmed the need to guarantee the same protection and opportunities as in-office workers, and especially the so-called right to disconnect. Finally, concerning work performed through digital platforms, the Ministers have underlined the need to continue in the exchange of best practices and in the efforts to avoid that a misclassification of workers’ employment status might prevent them from accessing the same protections and rights of employees.