A maintenance worker stands in front of some pipes in a work environment
October 18, 2018

The Good Work Charter

The Good Work Charter provides an organising framework for aspiration, alignment and action to shape a fairer future of better work. It sets out ten fundamental principles of ‘good work’ – work that promotes dignity, autonomy and equality; work that has fair pay and conditions; work where people are properly supported to develop their talents and have a sense of community.

"Good work is absolutely central to wellbeing, dignity and for communities." – Professor Sir Angus Deaton

The principles may be applied by different actors – government, industry, academia and civil society – at different levels. The principles are interdependent and interrelated – seeking improvement in one area (e.g. conditions), is likely to support improvement in others (e.g. wellbeing). The Charter is intended to support systematic review and development over time in each principle area.

The Institute’s Good Work Monitor explores the social and economic conditions needed to shape future ‘good work’, and demonstrates the link between good quality work, wellbeing and resilience. And the Institute’s Good Work Time Series demonstrates a link between dimensions of good quality work, making an empirical case to build a future of good work. Our Good Work Charter Toolkit sets out the regulatory framework, codes and guidance that underpin this work.

Orientation towards building ‘good work’ across the dimensions of the Charter will support individual and collective flourishing as the world of work transforms.

Using the Good Work Charter

If you are an employer...

You can use the Charter to help understand changes to work and work quality and make improvements in key areas. See for example: CIPD guidance on how employers can adopt technology to optimise job quality and business outcomes, and the Institute for the Future of Work’s accompanying case for importance.

If you are a technology developer...

You can use the Charter as a checklist of the impacts of introducing new technologies on work and workers to help you design, develop and deploy responsible, human-centred technology. See for example: this case study of how the European Robotics Industry is using the Charter.

If you are a union...

You can use the Charter to guide partnership working through transition in the best interests of your members. See for example: Guidance from Community Trade Union on taking a partnership approach to the use of technology at work.

If you are a policymaker...

You can use the Charter to help promote future good work as a central, cross-cutting policy objective. See for example: the Future of Work Commission’s rapid review of the world of work after COVID-19.

If you are a regulator...

You can use the Charter as a checklist of areas that should be considered as part of evaluating and monitoring the impact of new technologies on work and workers. See for example:  Research with the ICO into fairness in employment AI decisions.

If you are an investor...

You can use the Charter as a framework for considering the dimensions of ‘good work’ as part of impact  investment. See for example: the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Future of Work’s suggested amendment to the Financial Services Bill proposing consideration of the Charter principles.

If you are a researcher...

You can use the Charter as a framework to organise research on the future of work. See for example: Part 2 of The Amazonian Era: The gigification of work.

Understanding the Good Work Charter

The ten Good Work Charter principles incorporate rights, freedoms and obligations relevant to work and the key institutions, ideas and conditions that shape work and people’s experience of it. Against each charter principle we have mapped the following:

  1. the international and national regulations that are synthesised by each of the Charter principles
  2. ‘soft’ law, codes and guidance available to help promote each of the Charter principles
  3. technology-specific guidance adopting each of the Charter principles for ready application in a workplace context.

Explore the legal bases supporting the Good Work Charter in this Excel file. When downloading, make sure you click 'enable macros'.

Developing the Good Work Charter

The Good Work Charter was initiated by a cross-disciplinary group of experts, using the Delphi method, and developed by the Institute for the Future of Work with three evidence reviews, workshops, a public dialogue and a call for evidence.

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights discusses good work, and how the Good Work Charter is useful in viewing work beyond its economic value to highlight the importance of the type and quality of work:  

Support for the Good Work Charter

“The Charter is a brilliant idea. It puts the future of work at heart of inclusive growth." – Liam Byrne, Chair of the APPG on Inclusive Growth

"The IFOW Charter principles will be crucial to implement and build a just future of work." – Professor Mark Graham, Founder of the Fairwork Foundation

"The IFOW Good Work Charter has inspired us to work on a human-centric vision..a big thank you for inspiring us to take on this challenge." – Patrick Schwarzkopf, author of the EU Robotics Good Work Charter

"It's not enough just to talk about work... Instead, we need to talk about the type of work, the conditions under which it's done and so on. The Good Work Charter is very useful in drawing attention to these additional elements." – Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

"The principles of Good Work [set out in the IFOW Charter] should be recognised as fundamental values to guide development and application of a human-centred AI Strategy." APPG on the Future of Work

"The IFOW Charter of Good Work is a useful checklist of AI impacts for risk and impact assessments in a workplace context." – Lord Tim Clement-Jones former Chair of the House of Lords Committee on AI

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Institute for the Future of Work

Publication type

Policy brief


Changing work

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