A look into ILO practices promoting effective labour law compliance
The ILO's Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch (LABADMIN/OSH) supports Member States in improving labour law compliance through development cooperation projects . The publication "Strengthening labour inspection systems for increased compliance with labour law through development cooperation" outlines strategies applied by the organisation to address recurrent challenges and effectively respond to new settings, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The brochure is now available in English , French and Spanish .
In recent years, the ILO has taken a fresh look at labour law compliance issues to stimulate closer interinstitutional collaboration and bring new actors to the stage. This vision fostered the development of a series of innovative approaches and tools to strengthen the work of labour inspectorates. Some of the measures include complementing references to international labour standards (ILS) with new regulatory options, improving planning and inspection methods, developing modern information management systems, building the capacity of labour inspectors through tailored training, and supporting collaboration among inspectorates.
Most recently, the Governing Body of the Organization approved the ILO Guidelines on General Principles of Labour Inspection providing an essential tool to assist governments in formulating or reforming labour inspection policies and practices.
In line with this, LABADMIN/OSH applies several good practices through cooperation projects that contribute to labour law compliance, as highlighted in the brochure:
In 2021, the countries that implemented ILO’s approach to strategic compliance planning for inspectorates saw a rise of nearly 40% in labour law compliance, improving working conditions of an estimated +108,000 workers. This model draws on evidence to target likely noncompliant economic sectors and designs unique interventions for the sector’s compliance issues.
The LABADMIN/OSH Branch supports Member States towards the ratification and effective implementation of ILO Conventions on labour inspection and administration, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal on decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). The Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81) and the Labour Inspection in Agriculture, 1969 (No. 129) are among the four Conventions designated by the ILO Governing Body as governance (or priority) instruments.
Since 2015, LABADMIN/OSH has supported the implementation of projects focusing on promoting compliance with labour laws in more than 24 countries across four continents, notably as part of the Flagship programme Safety + Health for All .
The ILO delivers technical assistance to labour inspection institutions to support Member States in strengthening their capacity to adhere to obligations of labour provisions in trade agreements. As a result, projects have been implemented in the context of the US–Colombia Trade Agreement; the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Viet Nam; the EU General Scheme of Preference (GSP), among others.
The ILO promotes better coordination between the labour inspection services and the judicial authorities. In Colombia, for example, specific tools help judges review administrative appeals of sanctions imposed by labour inspectors in cases of ambiguous and disguised employment relationships. The tools informed the supreme court on the first-ever sanction (of USD 1.1 million) imposed under the law.
Joaquim Pintado Nunes, ILO’s LABADMIN/OSH Branch Chief, said that strengthening labour administration and inspection is essential to safeguard fundamental rights at work. “Through development cooperation, the ILO supports Member States in implementing innovative approaches to build a culture of compliance that improves occupational safety and health”