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Glossary

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Terms and jargon associated with reporting on international labour standards.

 Abrogated Conventions
Obsolete Conventions which have been removed from the ILO body of standards by decision of the International Labour Conference. Abrogated Conventions are no longer subject to supervision by the ILO.
 Annual report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
See “Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations”.
 Article 19 reports
Article 19 of the ILO Constitution requires member States to report at regular intervals, at the request of the Governing Body, on measures they have taken to give effect to any provision of certain Conventions or Recommendations, and to indicate any obstacles which have prevented or delayed the ratification of a particular Convention.
 Article 22 reports
According to article 22 of the ILO Constitution, each ILO member State has agreed to make an annual report to the International Labour Office on the measures which it has taken to give effect to the provisions of Conventions to which it is a party. These reports shall be made in such form and shall contain such particulars as the Governing Body may request.  Article 22 reports are presently requested at three-year intervals for the fundamental and governance Conventions and at six-year intervals for technical Conventions. In order to facilitate the gathering of information by ministries of labour at the national level, reports on Conventions relating to the same subject matter are requested simultaneously.
 Comments
See "Observations and direct requests".
 Commission of Inquiry
A Commission of Inquiry may be set up following a complaint based on article 26 of the ILO Constitution. It is the ILO's highest-level investigative procedure. It is generally set up when a member State is accused of committing persistent and serious violations and has repeatedly refused to address them.
 Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations [Committee of Experts or CEACR]
The Committee of Experts or CEACR was set up in 1926 to examine the growing number of government reports on ratified Conventions. It is composed of 20 eminent jurists appointed by the Governing Body for three-year terms. The members of the Committee come from different geographic regions, legal systems and cultures. The role of the Committee of Experts is to provide an impartial and technical evaluation of the state of application of international labour standards. It holds it sessions in November/December each year and reports to the International Labour Conference in June the subsequent year.
 Complaint
The complaints procedure is governed by articles 26 to 29 and 31 to 34 of the ILO Constitution. Under these provisions a complaint may be filed against a member State for not complying with a ratified Convention by another member State which ratified the same Convention, a delegate to the International Labour Conference, or the Governing Body in its own capacity. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Governing Body may form a Commission of Inquiry consisting of three independent members, which is responsible for carrying out a full investigation of the complaint.
 Conference Committee on the Application of Standards [Conference Committee or CAS]
Full title: International Labour Conference's Tripartite Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. Often simply referred to as the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards or just the Conference Committee. It is a standing committee of the International Labour Conference, made up of government, employer and worker members. It receives and examines the annual report of the Committee of Experts. Governments referred to in comments by the Committee of Experts may be invited to respond before the Conference Committee and to provide information on the situation in question. In many cases the Conference Committee draws up conclusions recommending that governments take specific steps to remedy a problem or to invite ILO missions or technical assistance. The discussions and conclusions of the situations examined by the Conference Committee are published in its report. Situations of special concern are highlighted in special paragraphs of its General Report.
 Conventions
International treaties which, once adopted by the International Labour Conference, are open to ratification. By ratifying them, member States formally undertake to give effect to their provisions and to periodically report to the ILO on steps being taken in this regard.
 Detailed reports
Detailed reports should be made in accordance with the report forms established by the Governing Body for each Convention adopted by the International Labour Conference. Detailed reports are due and should be sent in three instances: (1) when a first report is due after the ratification of a Convention; (2) if a detailed report is specifically requested by the Committee of Experts or the Conference Committee (the Committee of Experts requests detailed reports by means of a footnote in an observation or direct request and the Conference Committee when adopting its conclusions); or (3) at the initiative of the government, if there are major changes in the application of a ratified Convention, for instance if new major legislation has been adopted.
 Direct requests
See "Observations and direct requests".
 Double footnote
A decision by the Committee of Experts to request a government to provide full particulars to the International Labour Conference and to provide an out of cycle report contained in a footnote to an observation. Such cases are listed separately in the General Report of the Committee of Experts. Other cases in the report may be selected. The decision of which cases will be selected to provide full particulars at the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards a particular year is taken by the employers' and workers' groups. They may select any of the cases in the Committee's report and will take the Committee's selected proposals into account.
 Early reports
See "Out of cycle reports".
 First report
Report containing full information on each of the provisions of a ratified Convention and each of the questions set out in the report form for the Convention. A first report is requested by the International Labour Office in February the year following the entry into force of a ratified Convention.
Example: If a country ratifies a Convention on 12 December 2013 it will enter into force for that country on 12 December 2014. A request to submit a first report will be addressed to that country in February 2015. That first report will be due at the latest on 1 September 2015.
 Flexibility clauses / devices
Permitted exclusions, exceptions or other limitations under the terms of an ILO Convention. Several ILO Conventions allow, e.g., given categories of people, economic activities or geographical areas to be exempted from application, but require a ratifying State which intends to make use of such limitations to indicate in its first article 22 report the extent to which it has recourse to them. It is therefore essential for the first report to include indications in this respect since, if it does not, the limitations will no longer be possible.
 Footnotes
Notes by the Committee of Experts placed at the end of its comments. They indicate cases in which, because of the nature of the problems encountered in the application of the ratified Conventions concerned, the Committee of Experts has deemed appropriate to ask the government to supply a report earlier than would otherwise have been the case and, in some instances, to supply full particulars to the International Labour Conference at its next session. See also “Double footnote” and “Single footnote”.
 Fundamental Conventions
Conventions Nos. 29,  87, 98, 100, 105, 111, 138 and 182. The reporting cycle for fundamental Conventions is three years.
 General Survey
On the basis of article 19 of the ILO Constitution, the Committee of Experts publishes an in-depth annual General Survey on Member States' national law and practice, on a subject chosen by the Governing Body. These surveys are established mainly on the basis of reports received from member States and information transmitted by employers' and workers' organizations. They allow the Committee of Experts to examine the impact of Conventions and Recommendations, to analyse the difficulties indicated by governments as impeding their application, and to identify means of overcoming these obstacles.
 Governance Conventions
Conventions Nos. 81, 122, 129 and 144. Previously referred to as priority Conventions. The reporting cycle for governance Conventions is three years.
 Mandate of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations [Committee of Experts or CEACR]
The Committee of Experts undertakes an impartial and technical analysis of how the Conventions are applied in law and practice by member States, while cognizant of different national realities and legal systems. In doing so, it must determine the legal scope, content and meaning of the provisions of the Conventions. Its opinions and recommendations are non-binding, being intended to guide the actions of national authorities. They derive their persuasive value from the legitimacy and rationality of the Committee’s work based on its impartiality, experience and expertise. The Committee’s technical role and moral authority is well recognized, particularly as it has been engaged in its supervisory task for over 85 years, by virtue of its composition, independence and its working methods built on continuing dialogue with governments taking into account information provided by employers’ and workers’ organizations. This has been reflected in the incorporation of the Committee’s opinions and recommendations in national legislation, international instruments and court decisions (See para. 29 of the 2015 Report of the Committee of Experts).
 Most representative organizations of employers and workers
Article 23, paragraph 2, of the ILO Constitution provides that the representative organizations at issue are organizations which are recognized for the purpose of article 3 of the ILO Constitution. Article 3 regulates the meetings and delegates who are eligible to represent member countries at the International Labour Conference. According to article 1 of the Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144), the “representative organizations” means the “most representative organizations of employers and workers enjoying the right to freedom of association.”
 Non-periodic report
See "Out of cycle reports".
 Observations and direct requests
When examining the application of international labour standards the Committee of Experts makes two kinds of comments: observations and direct requests. Observations contain comments on fundamental questions raised by the application of a particular Convention ratified by a State. These observations are published in the Committee's annual report. Direct requests relate to more technical questions or requests for further information. They are not published in the report but are communicated directly to the governments concerned. Both direct requests and observations are accessible in NORMLEX.
 Out of cycle reports
Reports requested earlier than would have been the case if the reporting cycle would have been respected.
A failure to submit a report the year when it is due and a failure to respond to comments of the supervisory bodies automatically result in a request for an out of cycle report the following year. Out of cycle reports can also be requested by the Committee of Experts in a single footnote or by the Conference Committee in the conclusions.
 Priority Conventions
See "Governance Conventions".
 Protocols
International treaties adopted by the International Labour Conference, which partially and optionally revise or amend earlier Conventions. They are always linked to a Convention. Like Conventions, on ratification they become legally binding.
 Recommendations
International instruments adopted by the International Labour Conference which are not legally binding but give guidance as to policy, legislation and practice. Often, they supplement Conventions by providing detailed guidelines for their implementation but they can also be adopted autonomously.
 Regular supervisory bodies of the ILO
The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations [Committee of Experts or CEACR] and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards [Conference Committee or CAS].
 Repetitions
When governments fail to submit reports in time for consideration by the Committee of Experts, previous pending comments will be repeated. Repetitions may be contained in directs requests or observations. Repeated failures will be noted with regret and may cause a direct request to become an observation, which is then published in the Committee's annual report.
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