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View the PDF document Developing decent work conditions : a study of employment law reform from Vanuatu
Author: Jowitt, Anita
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: Ph.D.
Subject: Labor laws and legislation -- Vanuatu, Work environment -- Vanuatu
Date: 2015
Call No.: Pac KWR 125 .5 .J69 2015
BRN: 1206342
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: In November 2008 the Vanuatu parliament passed a Bill to amend the Employment Act [Cap 160] (the 2008 reform), which significantly increased benefits for employees. The 2008 reform caused considerable consternation amongst employers. This event led to my desire to understand how and why the 2008 reform happened and to identify a strategy to avoid such potentially disruptive employment law reforms in the future. The first part of the thesis develops an understanding of the 2008 reform. My argument contends that whilst the 2008 reform was publically stated to align with Vanuatu’s labour policy of increasing decent work opportunities by promoting international labour standards it did not, in fact, consistently do so and is likely to have had a negative impact on the decency of work opportunities. It was, however, able to occur because Vanuatu’s political environment is affected both by weaknesses in the functioning of parliament and by ideology that derives from its colonial past and post-colonial present. These political and ideological issues make it difficult to pass law reforms that are consciously aligned with policy goals. Further, there is lack of clear definition as to what the labour policy of increasing decent work opportunities involves. This also makes it difficult to develop law reforms aimed at promoting decent work. The second part of the thesis proposes a legislative assessment framework that provides indicators of decent working conditions which can be used to assess the extent to which the content of either existing or proposed laws ensure that private formal sector employees engaged under individual employment contracts are provided with conditions that respect the principle of decent work. It is designed to be a tool to both build local knowledge as to the content of international labour standards related to decent work and to provide comprehensive baseline information on how well either laws or proposed reforms meet non-prescriptive indicators associated with decent work. It is argued that this information will enable social partners to engage more systematically on contentious reforms and will help governments to develop reforms on the basis of sound factual information.
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