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

Report on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/34/57), submitted by the Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky

The present report is submitted by the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 25/16. The report focuses on labour rights in the context of economic reform and austerity measures. In the […]

Extending Social Security to the Informal Economy – Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova

Every member of society has the right to social security. Ensuring adequate social security for all is one of the key goals of the ILO’s Decent Work agenda. Most European countries have already established comprehensive social security systems. The existing systems typically operate in the forms of contributory social insurance systems and non-contributory, tax-financed social […]

Social Contract and the Future of Work: Inequality, income security, labour relations and social dialogue

The world of work is undergoing major changes that will continue, and potentially intensify, in the future. To better understand and in order to respond effectively to these new challenges, the ILO has launched a Future of Work initiative and proposed four centenary conversations for debates in the years leading up to its centenary anniversary […]

Promoting Decent Work Opportunities for Roma Youth in Central and Eastern Europe

With this Resource Guide, the ILO would like to enhance knowledge and understanding of all stakeholders of the situation of Roma in the labour market in terms of discrimination, marginalization, and lack of access to resources and services. The Resource Guide brings together relevant international instruments and experiences which can guide and assist European tripartite […]

Employment Failing Young People? Addressing the Supply-Side Bias and Individualization in Youth Employment Programming

International development actors increasingly focus on youth employment as a key development challenge. The recognition of high rates of unemployment, underemployment and job insecurity among young people around the world has led to a plethora of youth employment interventions, as well as often problematic discourses about youth “dividends and “bulges”, which instrumentalize young people and […]

Health workforce: A global supply chain approach (ESS Working Paper No. 55)

Moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires a sufficient number of workers producing and delivering health care such as doctors and nurses but also workers in other occupations, e.g. those concerned with administration or maintaining health facilities. However, currently there is a significant workforce shortage which […]

Gender and Labour in Saint Lucia: Brief

St Lucia’s Quarterly Labour Force Surveys of 2012 suggest that the educational achievements of women aged 15 years and above are noticeably higher than those of men in the same age group. Thus 12 percent of women record having a diploma, certificate or degree with a further 31 per cent having a General Certificate of […]

Portfolio of Policy Guidance Notes on the Promotion of Decent Work in the Rural Economy

The portfolio of policy guidance notes illustrates the ILO’s holistic approach to promoting decent work in the rural economy and brings together the broad range of instruments and tools developed over the past years. The goal of the policy guidance notes is to offer guidance to policy makers, the social partners and development practitioners on […]

The Indian Labour Market: A gender perspective

This paper provides an in-depth analysis of trends in labour market outcomes of women in India based on unit level data sets of employment and unemployment surveys undertaken in 1999-2000, 2004-2005, and 2011-2012. The paper analyzes the gender differentials that exist in the employment status of women and men despite the existence of legal and […]

Trade Liberalization, Social Policy Development and Labour Market Outcomes of Chinese Women and Men in the Decade after China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization

How trade liberalization affects women’s position in the labour market and what role public policy should play to make the process work better for women are among some of the most debated issues in academic communities and in policy-making arenas. This paper sheds light on these contentious issues by analysing the trends in labour market […]