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27 March 2024

ILO publishes new guide to teach young people their rights at work

The guide, developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), is a tool for facilitators to teach young workers about their rights at work.

Entering the world of work is both exciting and challenging for young people. They are finding their place in society, trying to make their mark, and advance their careers. It is an important time where much is learnt and the foundations of lifelong careers are set.

However, many young people – particularly those facing vulnerability – are exposed to the risks of discrimination, exploitation, and unsafe working conditions. For instance, a young woman joining a male-dominated field might worry whether she will have equal opportunities to advance their career as her male colleagues. Or someone with refugee status might hesitate to ask for leave in fear of losing his or her job.

To ensure that their initial years are not just productive, but also characterized by dignity and respect, young people need knowledge of the legal standards and norms governing workplace relations and conditions.

To empower them with the information and tools to navigate the world of work wisely, the International Labour Organization (ILO) recently launched Work Wise Youth: A guide to youth rights at work (PDF, 5.5MB), an updated and expanded version of the 2015 manual Rights @ Work 4 Youth: decent jobs for young people.

Work Wise Youth is a comprehensive guide that provides a reference framework for facilitators to support them in designing and delivering in-person or virtual training sessions for young people.

Aimed at promoting equality, including gender equality, and with an emphasis on forcibly displaced youth and their host communities, the guide includes everything from information about identifying rights violations to ensuring a workplace free from violence and harassment.

“The guide supports governments, employers, worker organizations, and youth-led groups in conducting awareness enhancing training. We hope that the guide will be in active use. It will be contextualized to countries specificities, and incorporated into national curricula,” said Mia Seppo, ILO Assistant Director General for Jobs and Social Protection during the official launch of the tool.

The guide includes information about social security entitlements, and will help young workers understand different forms of employment relationships and their regulations, as well as how to identify institutions and organizations that can support them.

It will help facilitators teach young people about decent work conditions, including appropriate working hours, wages, and leave days, as well as developing an understanding of what safe and healthy work environments look like.

Tailored to the shifts in the world of work, the tool also includes information on workers’ rights in the digital economy.

The guide is available on the ILO’s website in English, with French and Spanish translation expected to be published later this year.