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G20 Labour and Employment Ministers' Conclusions

Paris, September 27, 2011
[pdf] [Version française]

Annex: G20 Task Force on Employment

(1) The world is facing difficult times, with a risk of new crisis, and serious consequences for the labour markets. We strongly believe that employment must be our top priority. We are committed to urgently renew our efforts to promote creation of decent jobs and support workers and their families affected by unemployment and precarious employment. While some countries’ labour markets have fared quite well, in many G20 countries the pace of growth during the recovery from the financial crisis has not been enough to significantly reduce the high levels of unemployment and under-employment accumulated during the downturn. More worryingly, recent data indicate that growth is faltering in many advanced G20 economies and there has been some deceleration of rapid growth in the emerging economies.

(2) At their meeting in Pittsburgh in September 2009, our Leaders agreed on a Framework to promote Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth that put quality jobs at the heart of the recovery. Here in Paris, we fully reaffirm our Washington recommendations (April 2010), and the Leader’s Statement from the Toronto Summit (June 2010) and the Seoul Summit (November 2010). Recognizing that decent work should be at the heart of strong, sustainable and balanced growth, we affirm our commitment to renewed attention to policies that improve employment creation and the quality of jobs, while strengthening at the same time social protection systems, respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, and promoting greater coherence of economic and social policy.

(3) We also stress the essential role of social dialogue to help address these challenges through consultations with social partners who we met just before our meeting. We share the sense of urgency they expressed with respect to the situation of the world economy and its social implications, especially as regards to long-term and youth unemployment. We therefore invite representatives of workers’ and employers’ organisations to contribute to these topics, to make proposals and, where appropriate, to coordinate their efforts. We note that workers’ and employers’ organisations will meet in the “Labour 20” (L20) and “Business 20” (B20) that will take place alongside the G20 Summit in Cannes.

To achieve these objectives, we ask our Leaders to consider the following policy recommendations:

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I – Improve active employment policies, particularly for young people and other vulnerable groups

(4) Employment is our main priority. All of our countries have to cope with the issue of employment although our economic, social and demographic situations remain highly differentiated. Labour markets are exposed to more and more frequent economic adjustments leading to high rates of employment destruction and creation.

(5) In particular, young people and other vulnerable groups have been affected more by job losses and slow job growth. In some countries there has been an increase in long term unemployment and informal employment. Promoting smooth transitions from education, life long learning and training into decent jobs is a shared concern. As set out in the G20 Training Strategy submitted to Leaders at their Summit in Toronto (June 2010), bridging the gap between the world of learning and the world of work remains a priority. We also take note of the high level employment experts’ meeting held in Paris on 7 April 2011 and we thank the Government of Argentina for having organized a seminar on labour, employment and macroeconomic policies on 12 July 2011 in Buenos Aires.

(6) We are committed to promoting policies and institutions that enhance the job content of economic growth and contribute to create the quality jobs our people need. Interactions between economic growth and employment and social protection need to be further explored in this regard.

(7) Achieving our goal of productive employment and decent work for all in conditions of strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth requires a combination of macro and microeconomic policies. Structural reforms need to be combined with active labour market policies and effective labour institutions that provide incentives for increasing formal and quality jobs. Governments have an important role to play in this regard by ensuring that the right mix of incentives, support, and skills development is in place, especially to support vulnerable groups and the long-term unemployed. Building stronger and complementary partnerships between governments, employers, workers, learning providers and individuals will be important to help economies to respond effectively and adapt to emerging skills needs.

Accordingly, we agree on the following recommendations:

(8) Consolidate employment as a priority of economic policy

(9) Preparing our young people to find decent jobs

(10) Labour market policies for better social inclusion and access to jobs

(11) Employment policies informed by the contribution of relevant international organisations

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II – Strengthen social protection by establishing social protection floors adapted to each country

(12) An investment in social protection floors is an investment in social justice, stability, economic and labour market development. The benefits of social protection –social security and labour protection- are widely recognised. It increases the health and welfare of the population and consolidates social cohesion. Effective social protection systems contribute to building resilience to economic shocks and mitigating the impact of crises, and help to rebalance long term growth. We recognize that social protection systems have played an important role as automatic stabilisers in time of crisis and natural disasters. Linking social protection to employment through active labour market policies is key to inclusive growth.

(13) In this respect, we welcome the conclusions on social protection adopted by the International Labour Conference on 17 June 2011 and take note of the recommendations of the Social Floor Advisory Group chaired by Michelle Bachelet. We also welcome the work done within the framework of the G20 Development Working Group. We take note of the 10 May 2011 Brasilia declaration on the Social Protection Floor. We also recognise the importance of taking account of ILO convention 102 (Social Security, Minimum standards).

(14) The concept of social protection floors refers to a strategy for the extension of social security, comprising a basic set of social guarantees for all and the gradual implementation of higher standards. It is up to each Government to act with full sovereignty to determine the nature of its national social protection floor and the pace of its implementation or enhancement, in accordance with national priorities and wider social, economic and employment strategies. In particular, it is important that the means to implement social protection floors in developing countries be found.

Accordingly, we agree on the following recommendations:

(15) Develop nationally defined social protection floors with a view to achieving strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth and social cohesion

(16) Encourage international organisations to coordinate their actions more effectively to help countries develop nationally determined social protection floors

(17) Ensure effective financing for the implementation of nationally determined social protection floors

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III – Promote effective application of social and labour rights

(18) At Pittsburgh, our Leaders committed to “implement policies consistent with the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”. However, there is still much to be done to achieve effective and universal application of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We commit to stepping up our efforts to encourage their effective application in conjunction with the ILO and we underscore the critical role of social partners in this regard.

(19) We acknowledge the role and continuing importance of the relevant international labour standards, as recalled in the 2009 ILO Global Jobs Pact, and that social dialogue should facilitate and support their implementation. We also recall the importance of promoting decent work for all and increasing quality jobs, including through measures aimed at ensuring occupational health and safety, as well as working relationships based on effective social dialogue.

(20) We stress the value of experiments conducted in the field, especially those that combine respect for the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and national legislation with improved worker welfare and higher productivity at work.

Accordingly, we agree on the following recommendations:

(21) Ensure respect of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

(22) Promote international labour standards

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IV – Strengthen the coherence of economic and social policies

(23) Strengthening policy coherence is critical to addressing the social dimension of globalisation. In particular, it is key to achieving our policy objectives in terms of employment, social protection and labour rights.

(24) We also highlight the importance of greater coordination within each country, especially in order to ensure a better coherence of economic and social objectives within international organisations.

(25) We welcome existing practices in the field for collaboration between international organisations and encourage them to expand these practices by enhancing policy coherence among them.

Accordingly, we have agreed on the following recommendations:

(26) Fully implement the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation

(27) Strengthen our policy coherence

(28) Further enhance coordination among international organisations

(29) We agreed to hold our next meeting in 2012 under the Presidency of Mexico. We welcome this and we thank Mexico.

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G20 Task Force on Employment

The intergovernmental task force will be the forum to exchange mutual experiences, best practices and policy responses to the challenges faced by G20 countries with respect to employment.

The intergovernmental task force will be given the following mandate:

Source: International Labour Organization

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