The ILO's Decent Work & Labor Law Deregulation: Can They be Reconciled?

Nuova Cultura - Esercizi di Lettura, Roma, 2009

100 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2009 Last revised: 13 Aug 2015

Date Written: June 3, 2009


'Modernizing' labor law has become a leitmotif in Italy, in Europe, and in much of the world. The terms 'rigid,' 'outmoded,' 'old economy,' and the like are usually attached to demands for labor law modernization. At the same time, an international consensus has taken shape around the need for labor law to be the bedrock of 'decent work,' a leitmotif of the International Labor Organization (ILO). When the precise phrase is used or not, the demand for 'decent work' arises as well as at the national level. The labor law system is expected to provide equilibrium in the labor market to facilitate access to new employment opportunities, to reinforce employability policies, to cope with the notion of work which evolves outside the standard employment relationship and beyond the contract of employment. Accomplishing these purposes creates a general tendency towards a renovation of labor law. But without regard for decency at work, the duality of labor law can degenerate into asymmetry when an action of osmosis between labor law and labor market is not accompanied by social security rights. The core idea of this essay is that strengthening social security system is key to making the duality of labor law, as it reflects the tension between law and markets, a positive force for reconciling demands for modernization with demands for decent work. Here I try to build on studies I have already carried out in recent years on irregular (or undeclared) work and the relevant legal techniques for regularizing and declaring such work. This essay sets the stage for a larger-scale comparative project on the duality of labor law which arises from the functioning of labor law in relation to the application of the principle of decency at work. The larger project will consider reforms in Canadian and New Zealand’s labor law and their respective labor markets in comparison with the current European developments in the fields of the modernization of labor law and the so called 'flexicurity'.

Keywords: labor law, modernization, decent work, flexibility, security, flexicurity

Suggested Citation

Faioli, Michele, The ILO's Decent Work & Labor Law Deregulation: Can They be Reconciled? (June 3, 2009). Nuova Cultura - Esercizi di Lettura, Roma, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Michele Faioli (Contact Author)

Università Cattolica ( email )

Largo A. Gemelli 1
Milan, 20123

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