Abrogated ConventionsObsolete 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 RecommendationsSee “Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations”.
Article 19 reportsArticle 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 reportsAccording 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.
CommentsSee “Observations and direct requests”.
Commission of InquiryA 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.
ComplaintThe 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.
ConventionsInternational 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 reportsDetailed 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 requestsSee “Observations and direct requests”.
Double footnoteA 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 reportsSee “Out of cycle reports”.
First reportReport 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 / devicesPermitted 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.
FootnotesNotes 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 ConventionsConventions Nos. 29, 87, 98, 100, 105, 111, 138 and 182. The reporting cycle for fundamental Conventions is three years.
General SurveyOn 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 ConventionsConventions 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 workersArticle 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 reportSee “Out of cycle report”.
Observations and direct requestsWhen 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 reportsReports 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 ConventionsSee “Governance Conventions”.
ProtocolsInternational 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.
RecommendationsInternational 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 ILOThe 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].
RepetitionsWhen 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.
Report formFollowing the adoption of a Convention and Recommendation the Governing Body adopts a report form to be used by governments when preparing detailed article 22 reports. All report forms are available in NORMLEX.
Report forms for detailed reports contain two types of questions: (1) general questions in bold with roman numerals; and (2) questions on individual articles of the Convention. For the individual articles of the Conventions you are required to: (a) indicate in detail the provisions of the relevant laws, regulations, statements or documents which give effect to each of the articles of the Convention, and (b) provide any information specifically requested in italics under each article of the Convention.
If the Convention at issue is supplemented by a Recommendation, this is appended to the report form for information. You are not required to respond to any questions concerning Recommendations.
In 2018, the Governing Body has adopted an integrated report form for simplified reports.
Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations [Committee of Experts or CEACR]The structure of the report is divided into the following parts:
(a) The Reader’s note provides indications on the Committee of Experts and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards (their mandate, functioning and the institutional context in which they operate) (Part A).
(b) Part I: the General Report describes the manner in which the Committee of Experts undertakes its work and the extent to which member States have fulfilled their constitutional obligations in relation to international labour standards, and it draws the attention to issues of general interest arising out of the Committee’s work (Part A).
(c) Part II: Observations concerning particular countries cover the sending of reports, the application of ratified Conventions, and the obligation to submit instruments to the competent authorities (Part A).
(d) Part III: General Survey, in which the Committee of Experts examines the state of the legislation and practice regarding a specific area covered by a given number of Conventions and Recommendations. This examination covers all member States regardless of whether or not they have ratified the given Conventions. The General Survey is published as a separate volume (Part B).
RepresentationThe representation procedure is governed by articles 24 and 25 of the ILO Constitution. It grants an industrial association of employers or of workers the right to present to the ILO Governing Body a representation against any member State which, in its view, “has failed to secure in any respect the effective observance within its jurisdiction of any Convention to which it is a party.” A three-member tripartite committee of the Governing Body may be set up to examine the representation and the government’s response. The report that the committee submits to the Governing Body states the legal and practical aspects of the case, examines the information submitted, and concludes with recommendations. Where the government’s response is not considered satisfactory, the Governing Body is entitled to publish the representation and the response. Representations concerning the application of Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 are usually referred for examination to the Committee on Freedom of Association.
Shelved ConventionsOutdated Conventions which are no longer open for ratification and are no longer subject to regular supervision by the ILO. No article 22 reports are requested for shelved Conventions on a regular basis. The shelving of Conventions is without incidence as to their effects on the legal systems of the member States which have ratified them.
Employers’ and workers’ organizations remain free to present comments on problems encountered in the fields covered by shelved Conventions. In accordance with established procedures, these comments are considered by the Committee of Experts, which could request a report as it might deem appropriate.
Simplified reportsSubsequent reports (i.e. reports submitted after the first report) are simplified reports.
Simplified reports should contain: (1) any new (i.e. intervening since the last report) legislative or other measures affecting the application of the ratified Convention; (2) statistical or other information and communications prescribed by the Convention in question; (3) information on representative organizations of employers and workers to whom the report has been communicated and any observations received from these organizations; and (4) replies to pending comments of the supervisory bodies.
In 2018, the Governing Body has adopted an integrated report form for simplified reports.
Single footnoteA decision by the Committee of Experts to request an out of cycle report contained in a footnote to a comment. Such requests are listed separately in the General Report of the Committee of Experts. A single footnote can contain two types of requests. Governments may be asked: (1) to reply in detail to the comment a specific year, or (2) to report in detail a specific year. In the first case, a full response to the comments raised should be submitted the year indicated. In the second case a detailed report is required in addition to a response to the comment.
Social partnersFrequently used term to collectively indicate employers, workers and their organizations.
Special notesSee “Footnotes”, as well as “Double footnote” and “Single footnote”.
Special paragraphFollowing examination of an individual case by the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards, the conclusions in situations of special concern are highlighted in special paragraphs under the heading of Special Cases in the General Report of the Conference Committee.
SubmissionRequirement to submit new Conventions and Recommendation to the competent national authorities pursuant to article 19, paragrpash 5-7, of the ILO Constitution. ILS should be submitted within a year after closing of the session of the International Labour Conference during which the instruments have been adopted. The main aim of this requirement is to promote measures at the domestic level for implementation of Conventions and Recommendations. Furthermore, in the case of Conventions, the procedure also aims to promote ratification.
NOTE: The obligation also applies to Protocols in as much as they constitute partial revisions of and can thus be assimilated to Conventions.
Subsequent reportsAll article 22 reports on the application of ratified Conventions submitted after a first report has been submitted.
Supervisory mechanisms of the ILOThere are two kinds of supervisory mechanisms: (1) the regular system of supervision based on examination of periodic reports submitted by ILO member States on the measures they have taken to implement the provisions of the ratified Conventions; and (2) special procedure including a representation procedure and a complaint procedure of general application, together with a special procedure for freedom of association.
Technical ConventionsConventions which are neither fundamental nor governance Conventions and for which a six year reporting cycle is applied.
Withdrawn ConventionsConventions that have failed to attract a sufficient number of ratifications to enter into force or are no longer in force due to denunciations and that have been withdrawn by decision of the International Labour Conference. Withdrawn Conventions are no longer open for ratification and are no longer subject to supervision by the ILO.