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2015-02_dc

D+C Vol.42.2015:2 35 working more than the stipulated 48 hours per week declined from 23.2 to 9.2 % from 2005 to 2008, according to the ILO. More­ over, legislation was passed to protect work- ers’ rights. One example is the Employment Act that restricts employers’ rights to fire staff, shields workers from unilateral chang- es to terms and conditions and prohibits dismissal because of pregnancy. The Em- ployment Act introduced maternity leave and other benefits. Other regulations prohibit unfair dis- missal of employees due to their back- ground, status or disabilities. Furthermore, employees of many formal-sector busi­ nesses are entitled to social benefits such as pensions, injury benefits or health care. However, only a small fraction of formal- sector workers enjoy this kind of social safe- ty net. The labour statistics indicate that, between 2008 and 2012, only 5.1 % of for- mal-sector jobs met the decent-work crite- ria. The total number was a mere 28,000. Areas of concern include an increasing prevalence of poor working conditions in various sectors of the economy, a phenom- enon commonly referred to as “casualisa- tion”. Some employers engage workers as casual or temporary employees long term, thus shirking the legal social-protection re- sponsibilities that go along with permanent employment. In the formal sector, more than a quarter of workers are informally em- ployed as casual workers, according to offi- cial statistics. This is especially common in the mining and tourism sectors. Things are even worse in the informal sector which accounts for almost 85 % of employment in Zambia. Incomes tend to be low, inconsistent and unpredictable. Many people are self-employed. Some of them rely on contributing family members, whose work and income situation tends to be even worse. Workers that are hired by these infor- mal businesses are equally bad off. According to a nationally representative Labour Force Survey that was conducted in 2012, 70 % of the informal sector’s self-em- ployed people earned less than the mini- mum wages that apply to the industries they operate in. At the time, official mini- mumwagesinZambiarangedfrom700,000 to 1,653,938 Zambian Kwacha ($ 131 to $ 310) per month. Workers in the informal sector generally have neither social protection nor a public voice through trade unions and similar or- ganisations. The informal sector workers also make up the highest proportion of workers who are underemployed. The road ahead An enormous task lies ahead for the Zam- bian government as it embarks on the for- malisation of the informal economy and the creation of more decent job opportunities. In 2012, the government adopted a Strategy Paper on Industrialisation and Job Creation that aims to create one million jobs by 2016, but the country is falling far short of those targets. The government needs to acceler- ate decent-job creation by implementing more focused labour-market strategies. Measures should include improving the macroeconomic framework, eliminating regulatory and supply-side constraints in labour-intensive industries and stepping up skills training to meet the needs of indus- tries. Microeconomic interventions should promote the emerging sector of micro busi- nesses and small and medium enterprises that largely operate in the informal sector. The government, moreover, must align its decent-work policies with the SDG agenda to ensure that new jobs are not only decent, but also environmentally sustainable. This approach is important for employ- ment creation in Zambia, but also funda- mental for dealing with unemployment at the global level. The onus is on the interna- tional community and the governments of individual countries to formulate a mean- ingful, achievable and conceptually valid SDG agenda. This agenda must include tar- gets and indicators for decent work. Gibson Masumbu is a research fellow at the Zambia Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR). [email protected] Martin Ostermeier is a doctoral student in Economics at the University of Göttingen and a research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA). [email protected] Kacana Sipangule is a doctoral candidate in Economics at the University of Göttingen, a research fellow at the Kiel Institute for World Economy and a research economist at the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet). [email protected] Balk Lots of informal self-employment: market in Lusaka.

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