Informal workers do not receive social protection through work or legal protection through the state. Too often, these workers are unfairly stigmatized as “illegal”, “underground”, “black” or “grey” – but the vast majority are simply trying to earn a living against great odds.
Informal workers may be self-employed in small unregistered enterprises; they may be sub-contracted workers or even work for wages in unprotected jobs. And they can be found in urban or rural settings, and in the richest as well as the poorest countries.
In recent decades, informal employment has persisted or grown, emerging in unexpected places and in new guises. Today, half to three-quarters or more of non-agricultural workers in developing countries earn their living informally.