ILO supervisory system/mechanism

International labour standards are backed by a supervisory system that is unique at the international level and that helps to ensure that countries implement the conventions they ratify. The ILO regularly examines the application of standards in member states and points out areas where they could be better applied. If there are any problems in the application of standards, the ILO seeks to assist countries through social dialogue and technical assistance.

The ILO has developed various means of supervising the application of Conventions and Recommendations in law and practice following their adoption by the International Labour Conference and their ratification by States.

There are two kinds of supervisory mechanism:

Regular system of supervision

Examination by two ILO bodies of reports on the application in law and practice sent by member States and on observations in this regard sent by workers’ organizations and employers’ organizations.

  1. The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
  2. The International Labour Conference’s Tripartite Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
  1. Impact of the regular supervisory system

Special procedures

Unlike the regular system of supervision, the three special procedures listed are based on the submission of a representation or a complaint.

  1. Procedure for representations on the application of ratified Conventions.
  2. Procedure for complaints over the application of ratified Conventions.
  3. Special procedure for complaints regarding freedom of association (Freedom of Association Committee).

General Surveys

International labour standards are universal instruments adopted by the international community and reflecting common values and principles on work-related issues. While member States can choose whether or not to ratify any conventions, the ILO considers it important to keep track of developments in all countries, whether or not they have ratified them.

Member States report at regular intervals on measures they have taken to give effect to any provision of certain conventions or recommendations, and to indicate any obstacles which have prevented or delayed the ratification of a particular convention. The Committee of Experts publishes an in-depth annual General Survey on member States' national law and practice, on a subject chosen by the Governing Body.

Technical assistance and training

The ILO also provides assistance drafting national legislation and help countries address problems in legislation and practice in compliance with international labour standards.