Everyone Deserves to Have Decent Work

everyone deserves to have decent work

I have been doing research for a book on job satisfaction and came across a concept that really resonated with me. The United Nations agency the International Labour Organization or ILO is promoting the idea that everyone deserves to have decent work. As a basic human right, everyone should have access to safe employment that meets their economic and other needs.

What Is The ILO Talking About?

The decent work concept is that all jobs should meet minimum requirements for employee health and well-being. Employers should not exploit employees by offering substandard conditions and rewards. Ryan Duffy and a team of researchers (Blake Allan, Jessica England, David Blustein, Kelsey Autin, Richard Douglass, Joaquim Ferreira and Eduardo Santos) have been studying decent work and how it might affect employees. As part of that effort, they developed the Decent Work Scale that defines five important characteristics:

  • Safe Working Conditions: People should feel both physically safe from injury and psychologically safe from mistreatment at work.
  • Access to Health Care: People should have access to healthcare benefits from work. Of course, this applies mainly to countries that do not have adequate healthcare from the government.
  • Adequate Compensation: Pay should be reasonable for the person’s qualifications.
  • Reasonable Working Hours: There should be sufficient free time for nonwork activities and rest.
  • Organizational Values: The values of the organization should be compatible with local community values and employee family values.

Everyone Deserves to Have Decent Work

There are two basic reasons that everyone deserves to have decent work. The humanitarian reason is that people are important, so employers have an ethical obligation to do what they can to promote the health and well-being of employees. Since work is such an important part of life, the workplace plays a central role in employee well-being. The pragmatic reason is that the most important resource for any organization is its people, and those people resources are not taken care of, the organization will suffer. The most effective organizations will balance the health of employees with the health of the organization and not sacrifice one for the other.

Duffy and his team found that having decent work was associated with high job satisfaction and low intentions of quitting the job. In other work he and colleagues have found decent work is associated with employee physical health and physical health behaviors. Everyone deserves to have decent work that contributes to a healthy and satisfying life for themselves and their families.

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

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