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International Debates on Regulating Independent Contractors

What is the ILO?

The ILO (click here for its Website) is a division of the United Nations which focuses exclusively on labour issues. It has a budget of more than $US400 million annually, has offices around the world and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The ILO establishes 'international labour instruments' that can create legal obligations to comply on signatory countries. Major ILO decisions are made each year, in June, when representatives from around the world meet and debate over a three-week period. Employers, unions and governments have equal voting rights under the ILO's 'tripartite' structure. The ILO has the capacity to make decisions that significantly affect independent contractors, yet independent contractors are excluded from the formal structures of the ILO.

ILO affecting independent contractors

Since about 1996, the ILO has been struggling with the issue of independent contractors. This culminated in 2003 with a major thrust being mounted against the legitimacy of independent contractors. ICA sent an observer to Geneva for the debate in June. Fortunately, the outcome was a successful recognition of independent contractor legitimacy. In June 2006, however, the ILO will again debate the issue of independent contractors. ICA is again sending an observer.

Beyond 2006

How do global regulation systems embrace both employees and independent contractors? ICA wants to advance the global debate on how to do this. Click here for our discussion paper [PDF].

The 2006 debate

For ICA's Report on the ILO's June 2006 recommendation, including a discussion of the all-important Clause 8, click here. [65k PDF]

For the core of the ILO's Recommendation (6 pages), click here. [40k PDF]

For the full ILO Recommendation (81 pages, including discussion) click here [430k PDF]

For ICA's comprehensive analysis produced before the ILO meeting in Geneva, click here. [290k PDF]

The 2003 debate

For the report on the 2003 debate and outcome click here. [450k PDF document]

In May 2002, ICA prepared a response to The Scope of Employment Relationship document and presented it as an open submission to the ILO. Available here as a  PDF [55k].

ICA further prepared a one-page statement 'Declaration of Independent Contractors' Rights'. Click here for the PDF [30k].

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