Maternity Protection

 100 Years of Maternity Protection: Transforming Leave and Care Policies for all.

The year 2019 marks the ILO’s first centenary and the 100th anniversary of international labour standards on maternity protection.

During the first International Labour Conference (ILC) in November 1919, the Maternity Protection Convention, 1919 (No.3), the first gender equality international labour standard, was adopted. The convention recognized the right to paid leave with childbirth with employment protection. This significant achievement was the result of strong advocacy, including during the Women’s Labour Congress in 1919

In 2019, the ILC adopted the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, which calls for “achieving gender equality at work through a transformative agenda.”Marking the Centenary of the first international labour standards on maternity protection offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the progress and challenges of realizing this crucial right and to call on member States to ratify and implement Convention No. 183, Recommendation 191 (2000)

Read More

Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) represents the minimum standards, whereas the accompanying ILO Maternity Protection Recommendation, 2000 (No. 191) encourages additional measures. Key elements of maternity protection include Maternity leave duration; Amount of maternity leave cash benefits; Source of maternity leave cash benefits; Breastfeeding breaks, and Breastfeeding facilities. Another fundamental component of maternity protection in maternal health care, is effective access to adequate medical care, services during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond, to ensure the health of both mothers and children.


Maternity protection is a composite indicator that is included in the Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework. It is currently defined as whether the country has maternity protection laws or regulations in place that are compliant with the provisions for leave duration, remuneration, and source of cash benefits in Convention No. 183 of 2000.

Expectant and nursing mothers require special protection to prevent any potential adverse effects for them and their infants. They need adequate time to recover from the delivery process, and nurse their children.


IBFAN Position Paper on Maternity Protection at Work:


Related Links