Labour rights

Farmer woman

As highlighted in the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008), social security and the fundamental principles and rights at work are inseparable, interrelated and mutually supportive. There are many ways in which social security interrelates with fundamental principles and rights at work.

For example, the recognition of freedom of association opened the way for worker mutual solidarity organizations to collectively share the risks related to loss of health or income. These response mechanisms ultimately paved the way for modern social security institutions and in particular the democratic participation of social partners in the management of social security systems. Today, freedom of association and collective bargaining are seen as indispensable for setting up supplementary social security benefits that are created and managed by social partners themselves. The ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) are the ILO fundamental conventions with regards to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is not only a means used by social partners to extend and guarantee more favourable social security benefits but it is also used to establish and regulate social security schemes at the corporate, industry-wide and national level.

Family and child benefits, facilitating access to education, are known to be effective means for the abolition of child labour (in this regard refer to ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)).

Most national security systems also recognise the principle of equality of treatment and non-discrimination as general principles underpinning the design and functioning of these. In particular matters of social security, equality of treatment should be ensured between protected and unprotected persons; between men and women, in particular as regards retirement age, and between national and foreign workers.  ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) and Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) are of particular relevance in this regard.

Social protection systems are also closely interrelated with other areas of labour rights. In some countries, some aspects of the right to social security are defined in labour legislation, including in the areas of compensation during sick leave and maternity leave, in case of employment injury, as well as with regard to severance pay. Increasingly there is also a move towards coordinating unemployment benefits with active labour market policies to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment (see ILO Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988 (No. 168).

 

Photo credit: “Farmer weeding maize field in Bihar, India” by International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).

Expert Commentaries

Poor Access to WASH: a barrier for women in the workplace

On 19 November, we mark World Toilet Day and highlight the staggering fact that 2.4 billion people – one third of the world’s population – still live without access to proper sanitation. What does this mean for women in the workplace? Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) persists despite the United Nations General […]

Eliminating Unacceptable Forms of Work: A global challenge

An increasing proportion of the world’s labour force is working in conditions of insecurity, low pay and inadequate social protection. In the wake of the global economic crisis, precarious jobs have proliferated in advanced industrialized countries. In settings where informal work has long been widespread, many jobs are of very low quality and there are […]

Legal Instruments

National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work

This policy, based on principles of human rights, aims to guide the national response to HIV/AIDS in reducing and managing the impact of the epidemic in the world of work. Specifically the policy aims to: Prevent transmission of HIV infection amongst workers and their families; Protect rights of those who are infected and provide access […]

Code du travail haïtien

Article 320 -322. Le Code du travail examine les conditions d’obtention d’un conge maternité, sa durée et son indemnisation, ainsi que, dans l’Article 331, les conditions d’allaitement sur le lieu de travail.  

Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (No. 19)

Article 4.2 establishes an employee’s right to continuous employment in the event that the employee is absent from work due to taking annual, maternity or sick leave, or another type of leave. Article 8.1 states that the following reasons do not constitute good or sufficient cause for dismissal or for imposition of disciplinary action: (a) […]

Prevention of Discrimination Act, Chapter 99:09

This Act prohibits discrimination in employment, training, recruitment and membership in professional bodies, and promotes equal pay between men and women who perform work of equal value.  

Reglamento para el goce del periodo de lactancia.

Determina que toda madre en época de lactancia puede disponer en los lugares en donde trabaja, de media hora de descanso dos veces al día con el objeto de alimentar a su hijo, salvo que por convenio o costumbre corresponda un descanso mayor.  

Reglamento de la Ley de Servicio Civil. Acuerdo Gubernativo 18-98.

Establece que las madres servidoras del Estado tendrán derecho al descanso pre y post natal de acuerdo con lo prescrito por las disposiciones del Instituto guatemalteco de seguridad social. La servidora no protegida por el programa de maternidad del Instituto guatemalteco de seguridad social, tendrá derecho a licencia con goce de salario o sueldo por […]

Employment Act No. 14

This Act provides regulations relating to workers’ wages, leave, and general matters pertaining to workers’ welfare.

Employment Act No. 14 (Modified 2000)

The 2000 modification of the Employment Act No. 14 establishes workers’ rights to maternity leave and maternity benefits.

Decreto 275 reforma al Código de Trabajo

Prohíbe demandar un examen de embarazo previo a contrato.

Decreto 332 – Reforma al Código del trabajo

Reforma el artículo 29 del Código de trabajo, concediendo licencia por 3 días a los padres, por nacimiento o adopción.  

Legal Cases

Access to Leave from Work for Domestic Violence in Australia

Law Four-yearly review of modern awards under section 156 of the federal Fair Work Act 2009. Reasoning Building on the success of collective bargaining for clauses supporting workers facing domestic and gender-based violence (GBV), and concerned for female and male workers not covered by agreements, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) put a case […]

Regional Protection against HIV-Based Discrimination in the Armed Forces

The decision originated in separate employer decisions to discharge from the Mexican Army two HIV-positive servicemen who had tested for the virus in standard army-run medical examinations. In the first case, J.S.C.H. had been in the army as a driver for 19 years. The second case involved M.G.S., an infantry corporal with twelve years’ service. […]

The Rights to Work and Health in The Sudan

Nature of the Case Upon consideration of a communication submitted before it, the African Commission held that in its persecution of human rights defenders, the government of Sudan violated several provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, including the rights to work and health. Summary In 2012, the African Commission on Human […]

Access to courts and the right to work for informal traders in South Africa

Upon an urgent request, the Constitutional Court of South Africa intervened in a lower court affair to prevent the municipal government and Metropolitan Police Force from hindering what was asserted to be lawful activity by informal traders under the auspices of “Operation Clean Sweep”. Until the legality of the program that prevented trading in public […]

Resources

Building Trade Union Power with Gender Equality: The Case of the Unified Workers’ Central of Brazil

The Unified Workers’ Central (Central Única dos Trabalhadores, CUT) of Brazil, one of the world’s largest trade union federations, the most important in Latin America, and the country’s most representative, in 2015 implemented gender parity in its decision making bodies at national and state level. With this step it put itself at the forefront of […]

Women at work: addressing the gaps

Despite progress in education and health worldwide, women still face significant barriers to engage as full economic citizens. There are significant gender gaps in wages and labour market participation. In many cases, women also face barriers and lack the assets needed to become entrepreneurs. These inequalities remain large, persistent and pervasive in many parts of […]

Are active labour market policies effectivein activating and integrating low-skilledindividuals? An international comparison

This paper examines the effectiveness of active labour market policies (ALMPs) in improving labour market outcomes, especially of low-skilled individuals, by means of a pooled cross-country and time series database for 31 advanced countries during the period 1985 – 2010. The analysis includes aspects of the delivery system to see how the performance of ALMPs is affected by different implementation characteristics. Among […]

Industrial Relations in Emerging Economies: The Quest for Inclusive Development

This book examines industrial and employment relations in the emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey, and assesses the contribution of industrial relations institutions to inclusive development. The book uses real-world examples to examine the evolution of industrial relations and of organised interest representation on labour issues. It reveals contested institutional pathways, […]

Women’s ILO: Transnational networks, global labour standards and gender equity, 1919 to Present

This edited volume asks: what was the role of women’s networks in shaping ILO policies and what were the gendered meanings of international labour law in a world of uneven and unequal development? Women’s ILO explores issues like equal remuneration, home-based labour and social welfare internationally and in places such as Argentina, Italy and Ghana. […]

Exporters, Importers and Employment: Firm-Level Evidence from Africa

This article studies the relationship between firms’export and import status and the quantity and types of employment they offer, using firm-level data from 47 African countries for the period 2006–14. The article also analyses how the quality of policies at the country-level can relate to the difference between exporters and non-exporters, and importers and non-importers. […]

Workplace Rights and Wrongs

This brief outlines transgender and gender-noncomforming person’s rights at work.

Accounting for Income Inequality: empirical evidence from India

In recent years, an increasing number of regional and bilateral trade agreements have emerged that include provisions on labor standards. The claimed purpose of these labor provisions is to improve working conditions in developing and emerging economies. However, little is known about whether such provisions actually do impact working conditions. This paper conducts an econometric […]

World Employment and Outlook Data Finder

Explore the ILO’s set of estimates on employment around the world. Create charts and download data with the WESO Data Finder. Link to Website

World Employment Social Outlook (2018)

This report analyses key job quality indicators, devoting particular attention to informality, underemployment and temporary employment. It also takes stock of structural sectoral shifts and ageing, two long-term trends likely to add further pressures on the labour market.

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