Promoting International Labor Standards

One of the primary roles of the ILO is to formulate international labor standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations, and supervise their application by ILO Member StatesroNORMES is the Secretariat of the ILO standards system.

The Washington Office supports activities aimed at strengthening the observance of international labor standards and builds partnerships with a range of ILO constituents, including multinational corporations, labor unions, and NGOs, to help them improve compliance with labor standards. The Washington Office actively represents and provides support for ILO country-specific technical assistance programs funded by US grants such as IPECgrDECLamSAP-FL FBetterWork , HIV/AIDs and other US priority programs.

More on Labor Standards

  1. Conventions and Recommendations

    International labor standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO's constituents -- governments, employers and workers – which set out basic principles and rights at work. They are either conventions (legally binding international treaties that may be ratified by Member States) or recommendations (non-binding guidelines).

  2. How are international Labor Standards Created?

    The ILO adopts standards in a unique legislative process that integrally involves its government, employer, and worker constituents from around the world. Countries then consider conventions for ratification, a formal procedure whereby a state accepts a convention as a legally binding instrument.

  3. The Complaints Process

    The Governing Body investigates complaints alleging that countries have failed to comply with conventions they ratified. It sometimes forms commissions of inquiry to examine complaints, and refers others to the Committee on Freedom of Association.

  4. The Committee on Freedom of Association

    A committee of the Governing Body, the Committee on Freedom of Association investigates complaints alleging that countries have violated freedom of association standards or principles

  5. The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

    The 1998 Declaration commits all Member States to respect and promote principles and rights regarding: (1) freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, (2) the elimination of forced or compulsory labor, (3) the abolition of child labor and (4) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. It also provides mechanisms for following up on this commitment.

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    Decent work for domestic workers: Achievements since the adoption of Convention C189

    June 14, 2016

    On 16 June 2011, workers, employers and governments came together to adopt ILO Convention No. 189 on decent work for domestic workers. In the last five years since its adoption, some 70 countries around the world have taken action to advance decent work for domestic workers. These measures represent the first steps in a long path to redress a history of exclusion; making decent work a reality for domestic workers though will require sustained attention to ensure real progress.