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100 years of maternity protection: History and status quo of the ILO Convention and leaves

In 1919 the ILO Maternity Protection Convention came into force, recognising the right to employment protection and paid leave associated with childbirth. This International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention contained also the first international labour standards on gender equality. It was updated in 2000 (“Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183)”) and so far 38 countries have ratified it.

On the occasion of the 100 years of this convention, the ILO co-organised with the European Commission on the 8th November in Geneva a whole day Workshop on “100 years of maternity protection: Transforming leave and care policies for a better future of work for all”. The workshop marked a century since the adoption of the first international labour standard on maternity protection.

International government representatives, experts from academia and representatives from civil society from all over the world delivered speeches and discussed the trends and lessons from a century of different labour standards on maternity protection and care. The speakers encouraged participants, official and public authorities and businesses on the need to achieve universal maternity protection and gender-transformative care policies, including in the informal economy, with a view to ensure a decent future of work for all.
Last June, the International Labour Conference (ILC) – where the broad policies of the ILO are set – adopted the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, which is a call for “achieving gender equality at work through a transformative agenda”.

For ILO’s press release of the Workshop, please click here

For ILO’s video of “100 years of maternity protection”, please click here