Welcome to the Employment Standards Database

Please note that the ESD has not yet been officially launched, so information and data on these pages may still change.

The Employment Standards Database (ESD) brings together a library of relevant sources, unique user-friendly statistical tables, and a thesaurus of concepts – designed to facilitate research on labour market insecurity in a comparative industrialized context. Users can analyze multidimensional tables to explore and compare the contours of precarious employment in Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The ESD is designed for experts and novices, and can be used as an interactive classroom teaching tool. To fully apprehend its orientation, users are encouraged to consult the introduction to the ESD prior to using its resources.

This is a living database. The module content, library and thesaurus resource tools, and the statistics database are frequently updated. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement (esd@yorku.ca).


The introduction provides basic information on the ESD’s conceptual approach to employment standards and their enforcement in a comparative perspective, an explanation of ESD methodology, and an outline of the design principles behind the creation of harmonized variables used in the statistical tables.  These principles are further developed and demonstrated in five interactive modules: wage and wage compensation, working time, complaints and enforcement, leaves, vacation and holidays, and job uncertainty.


The ESD is composed of the five integrated and interactive modules. These modules represent different entry points into the study of employment standards.

wage and wage compensation
working time
complaints and enforcement
leaves, vacation and holidays
job uncertainty


The ESD library provides access to a wide range of resources including research papers, books, book chapters, journal articles, statistical tables and government publications. All of these items have been selected by leading experts, and are intended to help users to explore their research question through a feminist political economy lens, to apply feminist methodology, and to learn subject-specific language.

library tutorial
The library tutorial introduces users to the ESD library and the search functions of the database.

library database
This searchable database allows for searching by author, title, subject, module, and thesaurus keyword terms.


Serving as a bridge between the library and statistical components, the thesaurus identifies core concepts derived from scholarship on precarious employment. The ESD thesaurus provides a controlled vocabulary developed specifically for the ESD which should be used when searching the library database.

thesaurus tutorial
The thesaurus tutorial explains how to use the thesaurus tool, what a controlled vocabulary is, and how to understand the thesaurus search results.

thesaurus database
Search the ESD’s thesaurus to find key concepts, equivalent terms, semantic relationships, and library subject headings.


The cross-national comparative statistical tables populating the ESD enable researchers to focus on aspects of employment standards in relation to the five modules: wages and wage compensation, hours, complaints and enforcement, leaves, vacation and holidays, termination and severance. The database can be used to obtain basic information on a topic (e.g., cross-national comparisons of women’s labour force participation) or to examine complex social relations (e.g., minimum wage in different countries). The statistical tables are displayed in an interactive format, enabling users to manipulate the data. University and community users conducting research for non-commercial purposes and teaching may access the statistical data.

statistics tutorial
The statistics tutorial explains how to use and manipulate the statistical tables, how to approach statistical data, and how to get the most out of the data available on the ESD.

apply for statistics access
Although the ESD aims to be accessible, its statistical data is not available for full public use. There are eligibility requirements, and rules regarding how the ESD’s content and data are to be cited.

harmonized codebook + data dictionary
In building the ESD, experts created a harmonized codebook + data dictionary (i.e., a comprehensive dictionary outlining the surveys and data used to build harmonized indicators and construct statistical tables).

statistics database
Registered users may use the statistical database to access interactive, multidimensional statistical tables.


gender & work database

The gender & work database (GWD) is a sister site to the ESD.  There are six modules in the GWD on: precarious employment, health care, unions, migration, unpaid work, and technology.  The original site was launched in 2004 and was updated with new data to 2010 and module demonstrations in 2014.

comparative perspectives on precarious employment database

The comparative perspectives on precarious employment database (CPD) is also a sister site to the ESD, and GWD.  Launched in 2014, the CPD includes harmonized data for 33 countries including Australia, Canada, the United States and 30 European countries dating back to 1983.