Systematic evaluation of gig work against decent work standards: The development and application of the Fairwork framework

Heeks, Richard; Graham, Mark; Mungai, Paul; Van Belle, Jean-Paul and Woodcock, Jamie (2021). Systematic evaluation of gig work against decent work standards: The development and application of the Fairwork framework. The Information Society (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01972243.2021.1942356

Abstract

Growth of gig work – short-term tasks organized and mediated by digital labor platforms such as Uber and Upwork – is the focus for an increasing body of research. Yet there has been a lack of systematic frameworks that could evaluate this type of labor against decent work standards, and inform consumers and others about relative adherence to those standards across platforms and sectors. In this article we report the development of the “Fairwork framework”, based on five decent work principles of fair pay, conditions, contracts, management, and representation. The framework and its associated methodology were first field-tested in South Africa and we report on its use to rate seven gig economy platforms. A league table of platforms was widely publicized and one platform was persuaded to improve working conditions. We reflect on the use and content of the framework, and its role in future action research on decent gig work.

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