Cornell University

Credit Internship Program

119 Ives Hall, 607-255-2266

Conditions of Work, Maternity Protection

The International Labour Organization is the UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. It was founded in 1919 and is the only surviving major creation of the Treaty of Versailles which brought the League of Nations into being and it became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.

The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and treatment, and other standards regulating conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues. It provides technical assistance primarily in the fields of:

  • vocational training and vocational rehabilitation
  • employment policy
  • labour administration
  • labour law and industrial relations
  • working conditions
  • management development
  • cooperatives
  • social security
  • labour statistics and occupational safety and health

It promotes the development of independent employers' and workers' organizations and provides training and advisory services to those organizations. Within the UN system, the ILO has a unique tripartite structure with workers and employers participating as equal partners with governments in the work of its governing organs.

The internship is in the Conditions of Work and Employment Program (TRAVAIL), in the ILO’s Social Protection Sector.  TRAVAIL focuses principally on wages and income; working time and work organization; reconciling work and family life; maternity protection; improving conditions of work and employment; and workplace violence and harassment.  TRAVAIL engages in research, comparative analysis, advocacy, training and developing technical cooperation tools intended to encourage ILO constituents to improve employment conditions as well as productivity in the workplace.  The Programme compiles and disseminates information, publishes reports and gathers data to assist those who are interested in international information on these topics.  The intern will work primarily on the work-family reconciliation and maternity protection programmes.  The primary tasks under this internship include identifying and compiling research on work and family issues in the developing world, assisting in the preparation of information sheets on maternity protection, developing and improving informational tools on ILO conventions regarding Workers with Family Responsibilities and Maternity Protection, and assisting with requests from constituents for information and assistance on the topics of work and family and maternity protection.