Legal and Regulatory Framework > International Labour Organization (ILO)

Technical cooperation on labour laws

The International Labour Organization (ILO) offers technical cooperation and advisory services to Member States, assisting them in assessing and, where necessary, framing or revising their labour laws. This includes assistance in the development of national laws and regulations to allow ratification of Conventions and/or the implementation of International Labour Standards and the corresponding principles. ILO Conventions and Recommendations cover a broad range of subjects concerning work, employment, social security, social policy and related human rights. Their ratification and implementation is an essential part of building an enabling framework that facilitates labour market preparedness, in particular the human and social capital which underpins a country’s productive capabilities and thus also its trade capacity.

The ILO has, since 1919, maintained and developed a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. The ILO regularly examines the application of standards in Member States and points out areas where they could be better applied. If there are any problems in the application of standards, the ILO seeks to assist countries through social dialogue and technical assistance.

The elaboration of these standards requires that the Office undertakes thorough research on the national law and practice of Member States, which provides the basis for proposals to the International Labour Conference as to the shape and content of an international instrument - to be eventually adopted in the form of a Convention, a Recommendation or both.

The implementation of ILO standards is based, inter alia, on national laws and regulations, whose elaboration may require ILO technical assistance if requested. Furthermore, ILO assistance in the field of labour legislation may be requested by Member States, irrespective of whether they have ratified ILO Conventions, and/or in respect of fields which have not yet been addressed by ILO standards.

Member States request ILO advice in the field of labour law with a view to responding to various needs, such as:

  • Developing national law so that it can fully implement ratified ILO standards;
  • Assessing and, where necessary, reorganizing the framework regulating the labour market with a view to adapting it to meet the country’s current needs and challenges;
  • Taking account of emerging types of employment relationships so that they can be provided with a suitable regulatory framework;
  • Being informed on good practices in a given field.

The labour law assistance provided by the Office can take different forms, including the following:

  • Expertise for assessing the labour law framework in a given country or, as the case may be, sub-region;
  • Advice on the revision of labour law;
  • The drafting of laws or regulations;
  • Technical comments on draft labour legislation, including comments in the light of ILO standards; this may include proposals for alternative wording;
  • Assessment of the existing law enforcement machinery and procedures, including recommendations for improvements;
  • Technical information on a wide variety of labour law subjects;
  • Participation in national discussion forums, including parliamentary committees, on the assessment and revision of labour law;
  • Training of national officials - support for the development of national competency.