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Leaders Support Employment Agenda for Inclusive Growth and Decent Work

Family Picture Bad Neuenahr 2017Good news: In their Hamburg Leaders’ Declaration of 8 July 2017, the G20 heads of state and government took up the key decisions and projects of the G20 labour and employment ministers. At the invitation of Andreas Nahles, Germany’s Labour Minister, the labour and employment ministers had already met in May in Bad Neuenahr in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where they had agreed on common positions regarding the future of work, the quality of female employment, the labour market integration of migrants and refugees and sustainable global supply chains. The theme of the Bad Neuenahr meeting was “Towards an Inclusive Future: Shaping the World of Work”.

This employment agenda also featured in the discussions in Hamburg, where leaders for example discussed the impact of digitalisation on the future of work. Thy agreed that on the one hand new technologies come with new and better employment opportunities, but that on the other hand they also highlight challenges such as social protection and the safeguarding of job quality. Leaders agreed that it is necessary to make it possible for workers to constantly access continuing education and training opportunities in order to maintain their employability throughout their working lives. They stressed that especially those skills that are needed for the digital economy should be promoted in all education pathways and forms of lifelong learning. At the same time, they aim to extend social protection to new forms of work. Global labour market developments caused by trends such as demographic change, change in values or the effects of globalisation should overall be more strongly be taken into account.

The heads of state and government also focused on the issue of female employment. They emphasised that the Brisbane goal of reducing the gender labour force participation gap by 25% by 2025 must be further pursued. To this end, the leaders intend to strengthen measures aimed at improving the quality of female employment, eliminating discrimination at the workplace and at reducing gender pay gaps. The G20 labour and employment ministers had adopted a comprehensive set of policy recommendations in these areas, such as rules for enhanced pay transparency, better social protection or a higher share of women in management positions. Moreover, the share of women in G20 countries working in the low-pay sector or in informal and precarious employment is to be reduced. Another goal is to do more to make it easier to reconcile family and work commitments.

The labour market integration of migrants and refugees also played an important role in the discussions. For example, the heads of state and government explicitly supported the “G20 policy practices for the fair and effective labour market integration of regular migrants and recognised refugees” adopted at the Bad Neuenahr meeting. The G20 labour and employment ministers agree that the labour market integration of migrants and refugees can boost economic growth and strengthen social cohesion in their countries.

Finally, the G20 heads of state and government endorsed the “Vision Zero Fund” launched by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs during the German G7 Presidency in 2015. They encouraged companies and other stakeholders to join the fund. The fund aims to prevent serious and fatal accidents at work around the world. In an effort to support sustainable and inclusive supply chains, the G20 countries committed to promoting the implementation of labour, social and environmental standards and the enforcement of human rights.  These efforts are based on internationally recognised standards such as the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. Companies are expected to exercise due diligence supported by appropriate policy frameworks such as National Action Plans for Business and Human Rights. In addition, the G20 countries want to take effective steps to eliminate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery.

On 1 December 2017 Argentina assumes the G20 Presidency. This year’s German priorities will then be further pursued together with the new initiatives of the Argentina’s Presidency.