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ILO - International Labour Organization

03/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/03/2021 05:59

ILO Turkey’s report reveals home-based work is primarily shaped by gender roles

Prof. Dr. Saniye Dedeoğlu of Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University authored Turkey Report that addressed the parts relating to Turkey section of ILO's global report titled Working from home: From invisibility to decent work (2021) on the occasion of marking the 25th anniversary of adoption of ILO Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177) .

Focusing on two categories of home-based workers in Turkey namely (i) industrial home-based piece-workers and (ii) IT-enabled remote workers who are commonly called 'free-lancers' in Turkey, the report Home bounded - Global outreach: Home-based workers in Turkey treats the issue in terms of access to employment, labour relations, working hours, earnings, safety and health as well as work-life balance.

The report finds that home-based work emerges as a gender-based form of production considering the higher rates of homeworking women and certain sectors of home-based production. As women shoulder most of unpaid care work in the world and in Turkey, home-based work is a way of combining family care responsibilities with earning an income, which presents certain advantages for homeworking women but also such disadvantages as higher load of care work.

The report also indicates that home-based piece-working women view their home-based work as an extension of domestic roles, and such perception tends to push down the wages paid for home-based piece-work and results in work without social security and social protection on the part of women.

Another finding in the report highlights that a significant part of freelancers prefer home-based work as an escape from the hierarchy of organizational work and as an avenue of freedom; and home-based piece-work emerges as the sole means of generating some income, albeit small, for homemakers.

  • By TURKSTAT data of 2016, 2.6% (610,771) of all private sector employees work at home with women constituting 89% of home-based workers. In addition to the women-dominant nature of home-based work in Turkey, 87% of all home-based workers are informal. Informality and women concentration appear as major characteristics of home-based work, only 13% of those who work at home and in formal employment are women.
  • By TURKSTAT data of 2016, 68.6% of home-based workers are above age 40. Compared to the general age distribution in the labour market, this figure is a rather high average. Only 16% of home-based workers are below age 35.
  • By TURKSTAT data of 2016, 49.6% of home-based workers are primary education graduates, and 13.8% have no education. Summing up to 63.4% of all home-based workers, this shows that their educational levels are low. The highest educated segment is university or higher degree holders who make up 9.3% of all home-based workers.
  • By TURKSTAT data of 2016, the distribution of home-based work by sectors is as follows: 29% domestic work, 22% textiles manufacturing, 17% building services and landscaping, and 10% garment manufacturing.
  • The report focuses on two categories of home-based workers in Turkey namely (i) industrial home-based piece-workers and (ii) IT-enabled remote workers who are commonly called 'free-lancers' in Turkey.
  • The report treats such topics as access to employment, labour relations, working hours, earnings, safety and health as well as work-life balance.
  • Women in Turkey continue to work from home at extensive scale in such traditional sectors as textiles and garment. In addition to home-based piece-working women, the home-based remote-working young professionals become visible. Thus, the report is the first study that addresses the home-based work of these two distinct socio-economic groups.
  • Home-based work, regardless of workers' socio-economic status, occurs as a form work without social security and social protection.
  • Home-based work is also shaped by gender roles and ideology, and piece-working women particularly view their home-based work as an extension of domestic roles. And such perception of home-based work tends to push down the wages paid for home-based piece-work and results in work without social security and social protection on the part of women
  • While the home-based work by educated professionals who work remotely as freelancers is viewed as work, particularly the youth think that their freelance work is not real work because their families have clear preference for work at an organization.
  • While freelancers have started to engage in freelance work to work shorter hours, they nevertheless end up having to work longer hours to secure work inflow and income.
  • Home-based workers have no bargaining power in setting piece rates and have to pay high commission fees to work intermediaries, freelancers tend to have some bargaining power on wages.
  • For both groups of workers, association either does not exist or covers only a small segment.
  • Occupational safety and health is not viewed as a significant issue because its consequences tend to emerge only in the long run.
  • Home-based work involves high degrees of insecurity and vulnerability and is far from being decent work.
  • While a significant part of freelancers prefer home-based work as an escape from the hierarchy of organizational work and as an avenue of freedom, home-based piece-work emerges as the sole means of generating some income, albeit small, for homemakers.


Please click the links below for the report on Turkey and the global report:

Report on Turkey

ILO Global Report