Sectoral Guidelines

ILO Sectoral Guidelines are reference tools setting out principles that can be reflected in the design and implementation of policies, strategies, programmes, legislation, administrative measures and social dialogue mechanisms in a particular economic or social sector or cluster of (sub)- sectors. Sectoral Guidelines are adopted by a Meeting of Experts comprising governments, employers and workers. They can be implemented progressively to take into account different national settings, cultures, and social, economic and political contexts.

Sectoral Guidelines draw their principles from the ILO’s international labour standards (Conventions and Recommendations) and other sources, including Declarations, codes of practice, codes of conduct and other policy guidance adopted and endorsed by the International Labour Conference or the Governing Body. Sectoral Guidelines also draw on other international agreements and policy in the sector concerned, as well as relevant trends and developments in regional and national law and practice.

Sectoral Guidelines focus on the issues that are priorities for governments, employers and workers, and that are unique to particular economic and social sectors. While international labour standards normally deal with more general principles of labour law and practice, Sectoral Guidelines specify the principles and processes that could be implemented to promote decent work in particular sectoral workplaces or context. They benefit from the expertise of practitioners in the relevant sectors to capture good industry practices and innovations.

Sectoral Guidelines are not legally binding. They are not subject to ratification or supervisory mechanisms established under the ILO’s international labour standards. Sectoral Guidelines can therefore be aspirational in scope and expand on principles laid down in international labour standards and other international agreements and policy, all the while recognizing that they can be adapted to different national systems and circumstances. ILO standards and other tools or guidance adopted and endorsed by the ILC and/or GB therefore form the foundation on which Sectoral Guidelines build further. It is therefore understood that Sectoral Guidelines are based on the full principles, rights, and obligations set out in international labour standards, and nothing set out in Guidelines should be understood as lowering such standards.