This Guide is intended for ILO constituents and other stakeholders concerned with promoting youth employment, and in particular ensuring decent work for young people.
This Guide describes international labour standards relevant to young persons. While covering different thematic areas, it focuses on the key provisions of Conventions and Recommendations, in particular those of special relevance to youth in terms of the 2012 ILC resolution (Call for Action).
The main purpose of this Guide is to help ILO constituents, in particular decision-makers and practitioners at national and local levels, to better understand the multi-faceted dimensions of the youth employment challenge, and to devise and implement coherent and coordinated measures to address this challenge. The Guide also aims to provide young persons with the necessary information on their rights at work. In so doing, it touches on specific labour-related problems affecting youth that have been raised in the context of the application of international labour standards. Examples of country-level and regional good practices are included.
- Young persons: The definition of a young person for the purpose of employment is based on age. There is no universally accepted international definition of “youth”. Global and regional statistical estimates apply an age definition of 15 to 24,4 and there is a growing momentum to increase the upper age-limit to reflect increasing educational attainment and the postponement of labour market entry beyond the age of 24. In practice many employment policies directed at youth normally cover persons within this age group, and some may extend policies to 29 years of age. YouthSTATS, a statistical database on youth labour market indicators produced by the ILO, considers young persons to be those within the 15 to 29 age range.
- International labour standards: Since 1919 the ILO has developed and maintained a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. The ILO’s Constitution confers upon the International Labour Conference the capacity to adopt international Conventions, Protocols to existing Conventions, and Recommendations covering social and economic issues of concern in the world of work. International labour standards are essential in maintaining decent working conditions. In the present context of globalization, they serve the aim of ensuring that all benefit and prosper from the expanding economy. International labour standards range from freedom of association and labour conditions to employment policies and social security. Conventions, Recommendations and Protocols set norms (international labour standards) covering all workers. Some of these instruments address the needs of those requiring special protection (persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, migrant workers, etc.) and those employed inspecific sectors (rural workers, mineworkers, seafarers, etc.).
- The social partners: The ILO has a unique tripartite structure allowing for governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations to have a voice, and ensuring that all views are reflected in shaping labour standards, policies and programmes. Employers’ and workers’ organizations, usually referred to as the “social partners”, actively participate in the formulation and adoption of international labour standards, and in the supervision of their application.
- ILO supervisory system: Regular supervisory system: In accordance with the ILO Constitution, once a member State ratifies an ILO Convention, it is obliged to report regularly on measures taken to effectively implement it, both in law and in practice. Governments are also required to submit copies of their reports to employers’ and workers’ organizations, which may provide their own observations on the application of Conventions to the ILO. The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) are both responsible for examining compliance with ratified Conventions. The CEACR also conducts a General Survey each year of standards on a specific subject.