Top 5 Online Courses on Labour Law and Worker’s Rights


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Learn from leading experts from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Harvard University and other renowned institutions about labour law and securing the human rights of workers. Explore ways to combat forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery. Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to use the procedures of the international system to secure worker’s rights.

International Labour Law

International Labour Law is essential for securing worker’s rights in a globalized world. In this course you will explore the most important international labour standards, such as freedom of association, equal treatment, and the prohibition of child labour and forced labour. You will learn about the protection of labour rights as human rights, and you will analyze the concept of fundamental worker’s rights and corporate social responsibility. By completing the course, you will gain a better understanding of the standards, instruments and systems to secure worker’s rights today.

The course will be particularly useful to lawyers working in the field of labour law or human rights, as well as for trade union representatives, NGO staff, CSR officers and teachers in labour law and social policy. The course is taught by renowned professors including Jean-Michel Servais who is one of the leading experts in the field of international labour law and has worked at the heart of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for many years. Offered by Saint Petersburg State University, the course takes approximately 12 hours to complete and is taught in English. You can audit the course for free or opt-in for a paid verified certificate.

Work and Employment for a Sustainable Future

This online course is offered by the SDG Academy, an initiative by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for the United Nations. It explores the future of work in the context of the 8th Sustainable Development Goal (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Through a global lens, you will examine the state of income, employment, barriers to employment and policies to promote economic opportunity and participation. You will also learn about effective measures that can be taken to eradicate modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking. Other issues covered in this course include gender and child labor, the modern welfare state and artificial intelligence in the context of the future of work. The course concludes with a module on realizing decent work and economic growth for everyone (SDG 8) contributed by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The course takes approximately 20 hours to complete and is taught in English. You can audit the course for free or choose to opt-in for a verified certificate for an extra fee.

Women Have Always Worked

This history program offered by Columbia University consists of four online courses that you can audit for free individually. You may also choose to complete all four courses and receive a verified program credential for an extra fee. In this program you will learn about key figures and events that have challenged the role of women in the workplace, you will discover how ideas, such as equality, democracy, citizenship and liberty have shaped the lives of women, and you will explore how people from different races and classes have experienced work throughout history. The courses included in the program are: Seeking Women’s Rights: Colonial Period to the Civil War; Wage Work for Women Citizens: 1870-1920; Negotiating a Changing World: 1920-1950; Fighting for Equality: 1950–2018.

The self-paced series takes roughly 10 months to complete with a weekly effort of 2-3 hours.

SDG: Moving Towards Sustainable Work

This course explores the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and mechanisms for developing decent and sustainable work. You will learn specifically about SDG 1 (End Poverty), SDG 3 (Health and wellness), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 8 (Decent work and Economic growth), and SDG 10 (Reduce inequalities). The course will explore the four pillars of decent work (Employment, social protection, social dialogue, and social rights) as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and will delve into issues such as the digital economy, gender equality and robotization at work. It will also explore how to protect those who are unemployed or unable to work. Beyond that, the course will outline how companies are considered to be key players to achieve sustainable work and how they are called upon to ensure equal rights at their workplaces and facilities. Offered by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the course takes roughly 12 hours to complete and is taught in English. While you can audit the course for free, you may opt-in for a verified certificate for an extra fee.

Forced and Precarious Labor in the Global Economy: Slavery by Another Name?

This online course will provide an introduction to the role of forced and precarious labour in the global economy and it will outline how worker and migrant rights can be strengthened. The course will explore how different types of exploitation can be classified as modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour. You will learn to identify patterns of exploitation and how they are linked to economic and political interests. You will also analyze different models of intervention and protection to assess their particular strengths and limitations. The modules of the course include: Introducing The Global Challenge of Forced and Precarious Labour; Global Supply Chains and Labour Exploitation; Combating Labour Exploitation in Global Supply Chains; Migrant Labour and the Global Economy: Outsourcing exploitation; Legal Rights and Workplace Protections for Migrant Workers; Strategies for combating forced and precarious labour.

This course will be useful for anyone interested in effectively challenging global patterns of exploitation, vulnerability, and abuse. The self-paced course takes roughly 30 hours to complete and is taught by the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Note: This course is currently archived. Certain course elements are not available. It might be re-run in the future. 

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