International labor standards are a breed of legislature that evolve from rising global concern around actions that are required to be taken regarding specific issues — for example, the provision of maternity protection to females or perhaps ensuring that agricultural employees are subject to safe working environments. International labor law standards are developed using a particular and unique process. This legislative process involves government representatives, employees, and employers from across the globe.
The Double Discussion Process
The ‘double discussion’ process allows for sufficient time for participants to examine and comment on the draft instrument before it is adopted. Further, it is only adopted if there is a two-thirds majority of the vote to do so. The process is carried out as follows:
The First Draft
Firstly, the Governing Body comes to an agreement to have an issue placed on the agenda of an International Labour Conference to be held in the future. A report is prepared by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in order to analyze the legislation and the practices of member States with respect to the specific problem at hand. This compiled report is then communicated to employee unions and to member States and employer’s organizations, open to comments. It is then submitted for a first discussion to the International Labour Conference.
The Second Draft
A second report is prepared with a draft instrument. This second report is also communicated and open for comments and then submitted for discussion at the Conference at a session following the first discussion. During the second discussion, amendments, as seen fit, are made to the draft instrument. The Protocol or Convention is then proposed for legislative adoption.
Any Convention or Protocol that the International Labor Conference votes to adopt still needs to be submitted to their competent national authority. This is for the enactment of the proposed legislation or another type of legal action, as well as ratification. Once a Convention or Protocol is adopted by the Conference vote, it is typically implemented approximately one year after the ratification by two-member States. The ratification procedure is a formal process during which the Protocol or Convention is accepted by the State as a legally binding instrument.
Universality and Flexibility
Standards are typically developed and formulated in such a way that accounts for the diversity of the cultural and historical backgrounds of various countries. It takes into account the different legal systems, and levels of economic development in various countries as well. This means that standards are created in a manner that allows them enough flexibility to be translated in the national law so that it may be practiced in consideration of these differences. Some standards may contain flexibility clauses that allow them to be applied universally, even making use of temporary standards if need be.
International labor standards require revision and necessary updates to be enforced in Protocols and Conventions from time to time. At present, there are 190 Conventions and 206 Recommendations. Some of these are actually dated way back to 1919. There are 6 Protocols. Naturally, some of the instruments do not correspond to the needs of today’s world. In order to deal with this issue, the ILO adopts the practice of revising Conventions that are intended to replace older Conventions or to replace Protocols. This means that new provisions are usually added to the standards at hand.
Standards Review Mechanism (SRM)
This is a mechanism that is essential to the ILO’s standards policy. The SRM’ aim is to ensure that the ILO has a robust and clear body of standards that is up-to-date and ready to respond to the evolving workplace environment. This is for the purpose of protecting employees as well as to take into consideration the needs of sustainable workplaces. The SRM is a body that was set up by the Governing Body in 2015.
International labor standards are more relevant today than ever before in the history of the working world. This is because of the many challenges that globalization presents in the workplace. International labor standards are an integral system that is in place with the aim of creating structure in the economic sector. This legal framework is very important for fair and stable globalization and for better economic performance.