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

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.  

Decreto 376 – Reforma el Decreto 332

Decreto original no especificaba si la licencia debe otorgarse o no con goce del salario. Esta reforma establece que por esta licencia, el patrono estará obligado a reconocer una prestación económica equivalente al salario ordinario de tres días.  

Legal Cases

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

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.

Towards a Better Future for Women and Work: voices of women and men

ILO, in collaboration with Gallup, surveyed men and women in 2016 to understand their perceptions about women and work. The results, based on interviews with nearly 149,000 adults in 142 countries and territories, suggest that women might find support in their quest for productive employment and decent work coming from a rather unexpected source: men. […]

The Gender Gap in Employment: What’s Holding Women Back?

Around the world, finding a job is much tougher for women than it is for men. When women are employed, they tend to work in low-quality jobs in vulnerable conditions, and there is little improvement forecast in the near future. Explore this InfoStory to get the data behind the trends and learn more about the […]

The Impact of Minimum Wage Increases on the South African Economy in the Global Policy Model

This paper uses the United Nations Global Policy Model (GPM) to assess how increasing minimum wages might impact the South African economy by increasing the share of income going to workers (the “labour share”) – in contrast to the share that accrues to capital through profits and property income. We simulate the implementation of a […]

Uneven Practices in Voluntary Labour Commitments: an exploration of major listed companies through the VigeoEiris database

Over recent decades, the emergence of new forms of private governance has been one of the most important features in global labour governance and a subject of extensive research. At the moment, as most research is based on case studies related to certain firms or sectors, our understanding of private governance is still fragmented and […]

Jobs, FDI and Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from firm-level data

Using a unique sample of foreign-owned and domestic firms in Sub-Saharan Africa, we study the differences in the quantity and quality of jobs that they offer, and identify how these differences are determined by country-level institutional factors. After controlling for numerous firm-level characteristics, we find that foreign-owned firms offer more stable and secure jobs than […]

Minimum Wage Policies and Their Effects in Developing Countries: a comparative perspective

India was one of the first developing countries to introduce the Minimum Wages Act in 1948 and it is still considered to be an important piece of labour legislation. However, the Act is only applicable to a small proportion of workers. This has resulted in intense academic and policy debate over the past decades about […]

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