BackgroundAs part of the corporate responsibility to respect contained in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, companies should exercise due diligence on human rights, including fundamental labour rights, covering adverse impacts that the company may cause or to which it may contribute through its own activities, or which may be directly linked to its operations, products or services as a result of its business relationships.
Therefore companies should understand the legal situation in the countries where they are operating and where they have business relationships.
The ILO, as the authoritative body on international labour standards, is continuously collecting and analysing data and developing qualitative research on labour issues around the world. For companies exercising human rights due diligence and seeking to understand the issues to which they should pay specific attention, the ILO offers valuable information.
Below is an overview of the main issues involved that can be used as a basis to familiarize companies with the ILO’s comparative databases and research. Other topics not mentioned here can be accessed via the ILO public website.
- A full overview of country-specific information and data can be found through the ILO Gateway knowledge portal, integrating laws and policies, standards, projects, programmes, publications and good practices.
- Comparative data, international labour Conventions and Recommendations, ratification lists and all you need to know on international labour standards is in ILO’s NORMLEX
- ILOSTAT provides country profiles and full statistical data sets on labour force, employment, unemployment rates, share of employees working more than 48 hours a week, youth employment, working time, earnings and employment related income, labour costs, occupational injuries, labour inspection rates, trade union density and collective bargaining coverage, strikes, lockouts, the poverty level and social security.
- National legislation by topic can be found in the database of national labour, social security, and related human rights legislation: NATLEX.
International labour standardsThe ILO Helpdesk for Business on International Labour Standards is a one-stop shop for company managers and workers on how to better align business operations with international labour standards and build good industrial relations.
- A full overview of sector-specific information can be found at from the ILO home page through the Sectors tab. The website provides an overview of the main sectoral issues and web links to relevant resources for more information and further guidance.
- Sectoral statistics are available at ILOSTAT: see breakdown by economic activity.
- Main trends in wages in developed, emerging and developing countries are in the ILO’s latest flagship report: Global Wage Report 2014/15, which also covers inequality in the labour market and in household income.
- Minimum wages, average nominal wages, average real wages and average real wage growth from 1995 to 2013 for all ILO Member States (where available) are in the Global Wage Database. These are also disaggregated by sex.
- Country-specific information on the minimum wage rate and on the procedure for minimum wage fixing, the criteria that are used to determine the minimum wage level, the coverage of minimum wages, specific exemptions or rates, as well as the existing enforcement mechanisms are in the Working Conditions Laws Database
- Information on equal pay for work of equal value can be obtained from the ILO publication: Equal Pay - An introductory guide.
Working conditions worldwide
- Working hours: as part of the legal indicators for decent work, the ILO provides data on maximum working hours, including overtime and paid leave for 159 countries in the TRAVAIL legal database
- Maternity protection: maternity protection: maternity leave (including weeks of leave, replacement rate and coverage), paternity and parental leave in 159 countries in the TRAVAIL legal database. See also reports produced by the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch on Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and Practice across the World; Maternity Protection in SMEs: An International Review and The motherhood pay gap: A review of the issues, theory and international evidence.
Occupational safety and health
- Major national legislative requirements around the world are in LEGOSH, the Global Database on Occupational Safety and Health Legislation. It reveals what areas are covered and how, by taking key international labour standards as benchmarks, allowing comparative research on specific indicators.
- Injuries: rates of occupational injuries, days lost and cases of injury with lost workdays by economic activity and by country is also provided by ILOSTAT, covering more than 200 countries.
Freedom of association and collective bargaining
- Strikes and lockouts by economic activity in 200 countries are at ILOSTAT.
- The ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) evaluates non-compliance, while the Committee on Freedom of Association examines complaints alleging violations of this fundamental principle, regardless of ratification of the relevant Conventions. Full reports can be found in the ILO’s information system on international labour standards, NORMLEX.
- National legislation on freedom of association and collective bargaining at NATLEX, the database of national labour, social security and related human rights legislation
- Countries that have ratified the core Conventions for this topic, ILO Convention 87 (freedom of association) and 98 (collective bargaining) at NORMLEX.
- Trade union density rate and collective bargaining coverage at ILOSTAT.
- Full resources and publications by theme, language and country can be found at IPECINFO, ILO’s database on the elimination of child labour.
- Child labour by country, presenting different indicators such as age, education and sector (agriculture, industry, and services) is documented at at CL.Info.
- The ILO Country Dashboard presents legal and policy data on child labour, including projects and programmes at country level.
- The Global Child Labour Trends report provides world and regional key findings and trends on child labour, comparing data from 2008 to 2012, according to the form of children's work, age group, sex, region, economic sector, status in employment and level of national income. The Child Labour Platform offers more general information on such issues.
- The ILO launched the Global Estimate of Forced Labour in 2012. This research provides data by region, by form of forced labour, and by group (man/women/adult/child).
- Ratifications by country of the most important ILO Conventions for this topic, Conventions 29 and 105, can be found at at NORMLEX.
- National legislation on forced labour per country is included in NATLEX.
Equal opportunities and discrimination
- National legislation on equal opportunities and treatment per country, is included in NATLEX.
- Global trends in the impact of the global economic crisis on discrimination are shown in the Equality At Work Report of 2011, which gives specific attention to the situation of certain vulnerable groups (women, immigrants, indigenous people)
- The gender wage gap is shown by country in the country profiles and included in the Global Wage Report 2014/15.
- The ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations monitors observance, in particular in relation to the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) and Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) and examines complaints and evaluates non-compliance. Full reports can be found at ILO’s information system on international labour standards, NORMLEX.
- ILO provides large policy and legal data through its knowledge sharing platform on social protection and comprehensive social security systems, SOCPRO
- Global statistics on social security can be found at the social security inquiry database, including expenditure and receipts of social protection schemes as well as data on protected persons, recipients of social benefits and benefit amounts and ILOSTAT.
- Social security trends and information on social protection schemes, coverage, benefits and expenditure in 190 countries is provided in the Social Protection Report 2014-2015. The report includes valuable and comprehensive statistical annexes with the latest social protection data.
- National legislation on social security per country is included in NATLEX.
- National and comparative studies on employment termination legislation, offering quantitative and qualitative data can be found at EPLEX.