Labour Law and Reform Unit (LABOURLAW)

Mission and vision

ILO labour law advisory services are a distinct and essential means by which the Office promotes the effective implementation of International Labour Standards – as mandated by the ILO Constitution. ILO advice on labour law is also a key means by which the Office contributes to the establishment and entrenchment of the rule of law and good governance in the field of employment and labour.

In this context, the Labour Law and Reform Unit (LABOURLAW) provides integrated, proactive policy advice on what labour law and dispute resolution systems can do, based on evidence from other countries. Within the framework of ILO standards, LABOURLAW advises on the effects and role of labour law and dispute resolution systems as institutions for effective labour market governance, and for the pursuit of a wide range of labour market policy goals. LABOURLAW pays particular attention to how member States can expand the effective coverage of labour laws, in ways that are effective for the promotion of workplace compliance.

LABOURLAW promotes the rule of law and good governance, by providing services that:
  • Increase the number of ILO member States which base their labour laws and other employment-related legislation on ILO standards and advice about comparative best practice, and which use a tripartite consultative process to develop new or modified legislation;
  • Assist member States to establish and strengthen labour courts, industrial tribunals and dispute resolution mechanisms so that individual and collective disputes are dealt with efficiently, effectively and equitably; and which
  • Integrate gender into all aspects of labour law and dispute settlement.

In collaboration across the Office – both headquarters and the field – LABOURLAW develops and delivers the Office’s assessment of draft labour legislation, on request from member States and, on occasion, on request from representative organisations of employers and workers. Beyond the analysis of particular draft laws, LABOURLAW advises on the policy goals and processes for the introduction or the reform of labour law, and of dispute resolution systems. In partnership with ITC/ILO Turin, LABOURLAW provides capacity-building and training services, particularly around Evolving Forms of Employment Relationships, and Building Effective Labour Dispute Systems.

To support this technical work, LABOURLAW carries out research on selected topics. LABOURLAW manages a global research programme on individual labour dispute resolution systems, with a focus on effective access to justice. It carries out research on legal regulation of the employment relationship, of temporary agency work, and of termination of employment. LABOURLAW is home to the ILO’s Employment Protection Legislation Database (EPLex).

LABOURLAW collaborates broadly across the Office – both headquarters and the field – to support ongoing programmes of technical advice to member States in all regions of the world. LABOURLAW also contributes to technical support for donor-funded ILO projects. At present this includes Bangladesh, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Haiti, Malaysia and Vietnam.