Working Papers, vehicles for disseminating information on a range of topics related to the world of work and the evolution of social and labour policies and practices for a given sector, are regularly published and widely disseminated. Background reports and issues papers, which provide more in-depth analysis on specific issues, are also published for discussion at international tripartite meetings and global dialogue fora.


The Sectoral Policies Department is the ILO’s repository of knowledge on sector-specific labour and social issues. Research and studies conducted, in line with the ILO’s research policies, deal with emerging and priority issues of strong interest for ILO’s sectoral constituents.


  1. Protecting rural populations

    Extending social protection to rural populations: Perspectives for a common FAO and ILO approach

    11 February 2021

    Extending social protection for all is core to the work of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The present paper lays out the specific profiles, risks and vulnerabilities of rural populations and explores options to extend social protection coverage to them.

  2. © ILO 2022

    Briefing note

    Impact of COVID-19 in the meat processing sector

    09 February 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to exert pressures on the agri-food industry both from the business and workers’ sides, with some sectors shouldering a particularly high burden. The meat processing sector is one of them. As the effects of the pandemic on our food systems continue to unfold, the learnings from the outbreaks in processing plants in several major meat-producing countries are catalysing reforms that should contribute to the sustainable development of the sector.

  3. Publication

    COVID-19: Occupational health and safety for health workers

    05 February 2021

    This WHO-ILO document provides guidance on occupational health and safety measures for health workers and occupational health services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also outlines the rights and responsibilities for health and safety at work for health workers according to the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The document is intended for employers and health-facility managers, health workers and their representatives, occupational health and safety experts, infection prevention and control experts in public and private health facilities and policy-makers at national and subnational levels.

  4. © ILO 2022

    Briefing note

    Impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector

    25 January 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the construction sector, which is sensitive to economic cycles. Yet, on the upside, construction holds much potential to stimulate recovery, thanks to its potential to create jobs; and in turn, recovery measures can support the sector’s transformation towards sustainability and digitalization. Tripartite cooperation and social dialogue, together with international labour standards, are key to promote a human-centred recovery of the construction sector from the crisis.

  5. Social Protection Spotlight COVID-19

    Towards solid social protection floors? The role of non-contributory provision during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond

    21 January 2021

    The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the importance of guaranteeing access to at least essential health care and to basic income security for all over the life cycle, as stipulated in the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202).


  1. Publication

    COVID-19 and logging: Prevention and control checklist

    22 December 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on logging operations around the world, with implications for workers and enterprises. As economic activities restart, companies and workers must find ways to adapt to new realities. The ILO and FAO have joined forces and released a practical and participatory checklist to help companies and workers in logging activities stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 while mitigating its social and economic impacts.

  2. International Labour Review, Vol. 159 (2020), No. 4

    The Rana Plaza disaster seven years on: Transnational experiments and perhaps a new treaty?

    18 December 2020

    This article examines several noteworthy initiatives that were implemented following the deadly 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. They broke new ground in transnational labour law. The ILO-backed initiatives were largely successful but remain insufficient to achieve lasting change in the ready-made garment industry, where global brands’ supply chain buying practices constrain investment in occupational safety and health. A proposed United Nations treaty on business and human rights now seeks to enhance corporate accountability. Although promising, as part of a smart mix of multi-level public and private solutions, the treaty needs fine-tuning in the light of lessons learned from post- Rana Plaza experiments.

  3. Due Diligence Tool

    Maritime human Rights Risks and the COVID-19 crew change crisis: A tool to support human rights due diligence

    03 December 2020

  4. Publication

    Summary report of the Global research webinar "Towards a brighter future of work in the digital economy" (30 September 2020)

    26 November 2020

  5. ILO Brief

    Policy Brief on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

    25 November 2020

    The Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206) includes entertainment among sectors and occupations which may be particularly exposed to violence and harassment. Against this background, this brief analyses trends and patterns of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, and it provides a picture of relevant laws and other means to protect workers in the industry.