International Labour Standards on Working time

The regulation of working time is one of the oldest concerns of labour legislation. Already in the early 19th century it was recognized that working excessive hours posed a danger to workers' health and to their families. The very first ILO Convention, adopted in 1919 (see below), limited hours of work and provided for adequate rest periods for workers. Today, ILO standards on working time provide the framework for regulated hours of work, daily and weekly rest periods, and annual holidays. These instruments ensure high productivity while safeguarding workers' physical and mental health. Standards on part-time work have become increasingly important instruments for addressing such issues as job creation and promoting equality between men and women.

Selected relevant ILO instruments

Further information

  • General Survey concerning working time instruments (2018) - [pdf]
  • General Survey on Hours of Work (2005) - [pdf]
  • Inclusive Labour Markets, Labour Relations and Working Conditions Branch (INWORK)
  • Database of Conditions of Work and Employment Laws: Legislation in force 2011/2012 on minimum wages, working time and maternity protection on more than 100 countries from all regions