Argentina, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay · 3 November, 2020

Labour inspection and new technologies in the labour emergency caused by COVID-19

The cycle of dialogues between the Honduran Labour Inspectorate and its counterparts in Argentina, Uruguay and Peru ends, aimed at addressing the digitisation of labour inspection services as a measure to respond in a timely manner to the challenges caused by the crisis caused by COVID-19.

In April, which marks the beginning of the health emergency, the Government of Honduras approved the Law to help the productive sector and workers against the effects of the pandemic caused by COVID-19, which, among other things, authorises companies to temporarily suspend their workers’ contracts, resulting in the suspension of more than 200,000 workers. Companies that find it necessary to suspend employment contracts must notify the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of their decision to adhere to this relief Law, and the Ministry must issue a certificate that enables companies, and subsequently it must verify the legitimacy of the request through the labour inspection system.

But the Honduran labour inspectorate has just over 100 inspectors, a totally insufficient number to verify and process such a high number of applications. Therefore, support from EUROsociAL+ has been requested to enable it to get to know about and have information on measures that other Labour Ministries in Latin America have adopted to address the aforementioned situations using information and communication technologies in labour inspection systems.

The use of Information and Communication Technologies can improve the way the administration approaches users, enabling greater transparency regarding the civil service, facilitating immediate knowledge and monitoring by managers of inspection actions. In addition, it can enable the systematic processing of statistics and the analysis of results. ICT facilitates labour inspection, making it more proactive and efficient, improving communications between the central authorities of labour inspections and decentralised offices and contributing to the development of inter-institutional collaboration and the exchange of data between different administrations, as well as streamlining the work of inspectors.

In order to make models and good practices available to Honduras that can serve as a reference, three Latin American models of labour inspection have been selected through the use of technology: Uruguay, which has an electronic file system (APIA) for all inspectors, lawyers and officials that make up the General Labour and Social Security Inspectorate and where all inspection actions that detect irregularities initiate a process via electronic file; Argentina, where the use of tablets, laptops and applications on mobile devices resulted in the creation of the digital inspector, a paper-free inspector which is loaded with programmes and applications; and Peru, where the inspectors, in order to carry out their visits, access information systems to obtain data from the workers and companies that are the object of the visit, with an ample resource of mobile devices as the technological means available.

Three different models for the use of technology in the labour inspection process that provide Honduras with useful inputs for the restructuring and modernisation of its service.

Country: Argentina, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay
SDG: Decent work and economic growth, Partnerships for the goals
Policy area: Social policies