International Labour Standards relevant to youth employment

Labour legislation and regulations based on International Labour Standards (ILS) are critical to provide pathways for decent work for young people. In June 2005, the International Labour Conference acknowledged that while most ILS are applicable to young persons, some are particularly important. This is either because they set out basic conditions required for the creation of good quality jobs or because they contain youth-specific provisions. ILS cover the key issues of educational capacity, enhancing employability, entrepreneurship and the creation of productive jobs for young people. They also lay down important provisions on how young people enter the work force and on their conditions of employment such as minimum age of admission to employment, pay, working time, night work and medical examinations, occupational safety and health, and labour inspection.

International Labour Standards consist of Conventions and Recommendations. Together these instruments provide practical guidance for countries seeking to facilitate young people’s full and productive integration into the labour market. International labour Conventions are international treaties, subject to ratification by ILO member States. Recommendations are non-binding instruments that set out guidelines helping to orient national policy and action.

Countries that have ratified Conventions report periodically on progress made. The ILO’s supervisory machinery examines these reports and identifies areas for improvement, if necessary. Through technical cooperation, the ILO supports countries in strengthening their capacities in this regard.

Freedom of association, collective bargaining and industrial relations

Forced labour

Elimination of child labour and protection of children and young persons

Equality of opportunity and treatment

Labour inspection and administration

Employment policy and promotion

Vocational guidance and training


Working time

Occupational safety and health

Social security

Maternity protection

Migrant workers

Indigenous and tribal peoples