AIAS Lunch Seminar 3 maart Iftikhar Ahmad - Labour Law Specialist, WageIndicator Foundation

WageIndicator Labour Law Database: A Comparative Tool for Understanding Labour Laws in 80 Countries

Iftikhar Ahmad

Day: Thursday 3 March 2016
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 4th floor Gijsbert van Tienhoven building, room 4.09, Roeterstraat 31, 1018 WB
Registration: Please send an email, preferably before Wednesday 2 March, 12.00 hrs. to register.
A sandwich will then be provided.


These days, databases are becoming more and more important, as they are needed to do comparisons. WageIndicator Labour Law database is a work (in progress) extending over a decade (2007 onward). The database has three main pillars: labour law pages, decent work checks and labour law maps. The current labour law database compares 80 countries on 12 dimensions of decent work, enlisted in 49 sub-topics.

The labour law database is based on the four strategic objectives referred to as Decent Work Agenda by the ILO, and the subsequent substantive elements: from decent working hours to employment security and equal treatment at work, to social dialogue. In order to analyse de-jure and de-facto situation of national labour laws in accordance with these elements of decent work agenda, WageIndicator created the Decent Work Check, which includes three parts: Check, National Regulations and International Regulations. The Check part employs double comparison system. It first compares national laws with international labour standards and gives a score to the national regulations (happy or sad face). It then allows workers to compare their on-ground situation with their national regulations. Workers can compare their own score with national score and see whether their working conditions are consistent with national and international labour standards. The Decent Work Check is based on de jure labour provisions, as found in the labour legislation and enumerated in the National regulations part. The International Regulations part explains the ratification or non-ratification of ILO conventions related to the substantive elements of decent worm agenda and legal requirements under those conventions.

Decent Work Checks can be used by employers as an employment law audit tool to examine whether their organizations are complying with local and international labour standards. They can also work as a checklist for labour inspectors to check compliance with labour laws.

The labour law pages in websites are based on the National Regulations part. The work on labour rights awareness rising is already done both by unions and governments, but these works rarely refer to the legal texts. On the contrary, the labour law pages provide reference to the legal texts (quoting sections and articles of law) and make these pages a legal reference tool for workers and employers.

The aim of labour law pages is to create awareness among workers and employers about their rights and obligations respectively (and vice versa) in accordance with national and international labour standards. The labour law pages provide workers and employers with knowledge, which is the first step towards any improvement. It informs employees of their rights at the workplace while simultaneously enlightening employers about their obligations. Decent Work Check and labour law pages are also useful for researchers, labour rights organizations conducting surveys on the situation of rights at work, and general public wanting to know more about the world of work.

The data in the labour law database has been used to construct labour law maps. The current labour law maps cover 33 indicators for 152 countries. Labour law provisions, through labour law database, are also used to compare provisions with collective bargaining agreements. WageIndicator maintains a database of around 500 collective agreements for 29 countries.


Ifthikar Ahmad holds a Masters in Industrial and Labour Relations, Cornell University, USA.

The next lunch seminar is 10 March 2016

Four Essays on the impacts of foreign direct investments on the French labor market (title to be confirmed)
Catherine Laffineur
Economics, LEDa-DIAL Paris-Dauphine University

Click here for all the AIAS lunch seminars from Januari – June 2016

| More