Between soft and hard law. The impact of international social security standards on national social security law

Author (Person)
Series Title
Publication Date 2006
ISBN 90-411-2491-8
Content Type


Whether or not we ever attain universal social justice, there can be little doubt that the international community has set meaningful standards, and that significant progress has been made over the last century. The leading standard-setter throughout this period has been the International Labour Organisation (ILO), with its nearly 200 conventions on labour law and social security law. Yet it is often asked: how effective are these standards? Do any lLO Member States actually offer (to quote the Philadelphia Declaration of the ILO Conference of 1944) social security measures to provide a basic income to all in need of such protection and comprehensive medical care? Perhaps not, but some come close, thanks to the application of ILO standards.

This volume is the first detailed analysis of the legal meaning of ILO conventions within the ratifying Member States. In unprecedented depth a panel of distinguished authorities explores the role of ILO conventions in preparing and amending national legislation, in parliamentary debate, and in national case law. For comparative purposes, five countries - the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands - are studied in depth. Among the points of discussion that arise are the following:

the social dumping that results from distortion of competition; the lLO's supervision procedures; protection of international migrant workers; temporary exceptions for developing countries; and the possibility of rnodernising texts of older conventions.

A useful annex reprints the texts of the lLO Constitution and the conventions pertaining to social security which are currently being promoted for ratification by the ILO.

At a time when the very meaning of such terms as work and social security is being challenged by prevailing economic and political forces, this full-scale reappraisal of a body of international law that, although soft, has had a pronounced positive effect on the progress of social justice is to be welcomed. It is well worth the close attention of government policymakers and regulators, company lawyers, and interested academics everywhere.

Source Link
Subject Categories
Countries / Regions
Record URL