Fair Work Convention

Security

Security of employment, work and income are important foundations of a successful life. Predictability of working time is often a component of secure working arrangements. While no one has complete security and stability of employment, income and work, security is an important aspect of fair work. Context and competitive conditions impact significantly on prospects for security, but fair work is not work where the burden of insecurity and risk rests primarily on employees and workers.

Stability of employment allows individuals to better plan their day to day lives and their future. Security of income can contribute to greater individual and family stability and can promote more effective financial planning, including investment in pension provision. Stability and sufficiency of earned income for individuals reduces reliance on the welfare system while in work and in retirement. Predictability of work commitments - in particular, working hours - and good work-life balance are also important elements of fair work.

Security plays an important role in behaviours and attitudes within workplaces and therefore can generate important benefits for employers. Where people feel secure, this can increase their willingness to adapt and change, their levels of commitment, on the chances of them 'going the extra mile' and on employer-employee trust. Stability of work can create the basis for greater learning and more effective skills development and can affect fulfilment in work. Security and stability in work can reduce turnover and minimised recruitment and selection costs as well as lost training costs.

Security at work can generate clear benefits for society. Individuals with stable employment and incomes, and with sufficient incomes, are less likely to require support from the welfare system and more likely to generate public revenues through taxation. Low pay and insecurity are associated with in-work poverty, child poverty and poverty beyond working life. Insecure employment is associated with poorer health outcomes than secure employment.

Security as a dimension of fair work can be supported in a variety of ways: by building stability in to contractual arrangements, adopting at least the Living Wage, giving opportunities for hours of work that can align with family life and caring commitments, employment security agreements, fair opportunities for pay progressing, sick pay and pension arrangements. In the context of increasing global competition, pursuing higher value business models instead of competing solely on cost can help employers to provide security in work and employment.

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