Often called an international parliament of labour, the Conference establishes and adopts international labour standards and is a forum for discussion of key social and labour questions. It also adopts the Organization's budget and elects the Governing Body.
Each member State is represented by a delegation consisting of two government delegates, an employer delegate, a worker delegate, and their respective advisers. Many of the government representatives are cabinet ministers responsible for labour affairs in their own countries. Employer and Worker delegates are nominated in agreement with the most representative national organizations of employers and workers.
Every delegate has the same rights, and all can express themselves freely and vote as they wish. Worker and employer delegates may sometimes vote against their government's representatives or against each other. This diversity of viewpoints, however, does not prevent decisions being adopted by very large majorities or in some cases even unanimously.
Heads of State and prime ministers also take the floor at the Conference. International organizations, both governmental and others, attend as observers.