ILO Helpdesk for Business on International Labour Standards
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ILO Helpdesk for Business on International Labour Standards

operated by the Multinational Enterprises and Enterprises Engagement Unit

"WHAT is the minimum age for a young person to undertake an apprenticeship involving night work? HOW can we know whether workers in our supply chain are free to organize? WHAT can our company do to prevent trafficking of migrant workers? HOW can our company assist enterprises in our supply chain to observe labour standards? “

Welcome to the ILO Helpdesk for Business, the one-stop shop for company managers and workers on how to better align business operations with international labour standards and build good industrial relations.

The Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) and the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work are the main ILO instruments that can provide companies guidance on social policy and responsible labour practices. The MNE Declaration contains recommendations for both governments and companies to maximize the positive contribution companies can make to socio-economic development. The ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted in 1998 is an expression of commitment by governments, employers' and workers' organizations to uphold basic human values that are universal, and applicable to all people in all States - regardless of the level of economic development.

The ILO Helpdesk for Business provides information on a wide range of labour topics, all derived from the ILO MNE Declaration. Check out available ILO resources and tools as well as Questions and Answers (Q&As) and useful links on: Specific queries on applying principles of international labour standards in company operations can be directly submitted by email to or telephone +41 22 799-6264 (fax +41 22 799-6354). This individual assistance service is free and confidential and available for company managers and workers; government agencies, employers’ and workers’ organizations and other interested organizations can also make use of the service. Replies are prepared by an ILO expert team and draw on the different ILO normative instruments, policy documents and tools. Responses to most questions are provided within a day or two. For more complex questions, replies may take longer.

The ILO Helpdesk for Business does not provide information on national labour laws or national industrial relations practices. For country-specific information, please consult national labour ministries and national employers’ and workers’ organizations. For more information on ILO conventions, the relationship between international labour standards and national labour law or which countries have ratified which conventions, visit the website of the International Labour Standards Department.

The ILO makes available to companies and trade unions wishing to use the facilities of the ILO a neutral place to discuss issues of mutual concern. For further information, please contact the Helpdesk via

Visit the website of the Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit for other topics related to corporate social responsibility and social policy.

ILO Helpdesk Factsheets

  1. The MNE Declaration - the detail

    ILO Helpdesk Factsheet No. 3

  2. Eliminating Discrimination in the Workplace

    ILO Helpdesk Factsheet No. 5

  3. Workers' housing

    ILO Helpdesk Factsheet No. 6

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