International Labour Standards relevant to work and young persons

Resource list | 22 October 2009

Labour legislation and regulations based on International Labour Standards (ILS) are critical to provide pathways for decent work for young people. In June 2005, the International Labour Conference acknowledged that while most ILS are applicable to young persons, some are particularly important. This is either because they set out basic conditions required for the creation of good quality jobs or because they contain youth-specific provisions. ILS cover the key issues of educational capacity, enhancing employability, entrepreneurship and the creation of productive jobs for young people. They also lay down important provisions on how young people enter the work force and on their conditions of employment such as minimum age of admission to employment, pay, working time, night work and medical examinations, occupational safety and health, and labour inspection.

International Labour Standards consist of Conventions and Recommendations. Together these instruments provide practical guidance for countries seeking to facilitate young people’s full and productive integration into the labour market. International labour Conventions are international treaties, subject to ratification by ILO member States. Recommendations are non-binding instruments that set out guidelines helping to orient national policy and action.

Countries that have ratified Conventions report periodically on progress made. The ILO’s supervisory machinery examines these reports and identifies areas for improvement, if necessary. Through technical cooperation, the ILO supports countries in strengthening their capacities in this regard.

Freedom of association, collective bargaining and industrial relations

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

Workers’ Representatives Convention (No. 135) and Recommendation (No. 143), 1971

Forced labour

Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)

Forced Labour (Indirect Compulsion) Recommendation, 1930 (No. 35)

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)

Elimination of child labour and protection of children and young persons

Minimum Age Convention (No. 138) and Recommendation (No. 146), 1973

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182) and Recommendation (No. 190), 1999

Medical Examination of Young Persons (Industry) Convention, 1946 (No. 77)

Medical Examination of Young Persons (Non-Industrial Occupations) Convention, 1946 (No. 78)

Medical Examination of Young Persons Recommendation, 1946 (No. 79)

Equality of opportunity and treatment

Equal Remuneration Convention (No. 100) and Recommendation (No. 90), 1951

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) and Recommendation (No. 111), 1958

Labour inspection and administration

Labour Inspection Convention (No. 81) and Recommendation (No. 81), 1947

Protocol of 1995 to the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81)

Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention (No. 129) and Recommendation (No. 133), 1969

Labour Administration Convention (No. 150) and Recommendation (No. 158), 1978

Employment policy and promotion

Employment Policy Convention (No. 122) and Recommendation (No. 122), 1964

Employment Policy (Supplementary Provisions) Recommendation (No. 169), 1984

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention (No. 159) and Recommendation (No. 168), 1983

Private Employment Agencies Convention (No. 181) and Recommendation (No. 188), 1997

Employment Service Convention (No. 88) and Recommendation (No. 83), 1948

Job Creation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998 (No. 189)

Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193)

Vocational guidance and training

Human Resources Development Convention, 1975 (No. 142)

Human Resources Development Recommendation, 2004 (No. 195)


Protection of Wages Convention (No. 95) and Recommendation (No. 85), 1949

Minimum Wage Fixing Convention (No. 131) and Recommendation (No. 135), 1970

Working time

Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919 (No. 1)

Hours of Work (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1930 (No. 30)

Night Work Convention (No. 171) and Recommendation (No. 178), 1990

Part-Time Work Convention (No. 175) and Recommendation (No. 182), 1994

Occupational safety and health

Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 155) and Recommendation (No. 164), 1981

Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155)

Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention (No. 184) and Recommendation (No. 192), 2001

Social security

Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)

Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention (No. 168) and Recommendation (No. 176), 1988

Maternity protection

Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183) and Recommendation (No. 191), 2000

Migrant workers

Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) (No. 97) and Recommendation (Revised) (No. 86), 1949

Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143)

Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975 (No. 151)

Indigenous and tribal peoples

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)