The subject of wages (and hours of work) was one of the topics on the agenda of the 1st ICLS in 1923. The Conference adopted a resolution covering the types of statistics (rates of pay, actual earnings, normal hours of work and actual hours of work) to be produced and the principles to be followed. It recommended the use of index numbers to evaluate trends in nominal wage rates and actual earnings.

The 4th ICLS in 1931 adopted a series of resolutions on statistics of “money wages”. The International Labour Conference in 1938 adopted a Convention No. 63 concerning statistics of wages and hours of work on the basis of a draft prepared by the 5th ICLS in 1937. This Convention laid down minimum standards for statistics of average earnings and hours actually worked in the principal mining and manufacturing industries, including building and construction, and statistics of time rates of wages and normal hours of work in agriculture. This convention was ratified by 34 countries and was superseded by Convention 160 since 1985.

The 7th ICLS in 1947 adopted a resolution that amplified the scope of Convention 63. This resolution established methods to be used in obtaining statistics from payroll records, producing regular statistics by industry, according to the International Standard Industrial Classification of all economic activities, ISIC.

The subject of labour cost was discussed in only one ICLS, the 11th in 1966, that adopted the resolution on labour cost statistics.