Promoting International Labor Standards
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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 States. NORMES 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 IPEC, DECL, SAP-FL, BetterWork , 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.


  1. Migrant Domestic Workers: Ensuring Human Rights and Making Decent Work a Reality
    29 January 2014

    This video is a compilation of the voices that were collected from speakers who were in attendance at the side event entitled 'Making Decent Work a Reality for Migrant Domestic Workers' at the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (HLD). It specifically highlights the key messages of the discussion that took place and the recent launch of the Global Action Programme on Migrant Workers and their Families.

  2. Navigating a New Era: An Experts’ Dialogue on International Labor Standards & the U.S. Judiciary
    March 28, 2012

    The ILO and Columbus School of Law hosted a one-day conference to address both the questions and criticisms surrounding the interpretation and application of international labor law to domestic disputes.

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