The institute’s history dates back to the beginning of the previous century, when the first labour and social affairs research centre, the Social Institute of the Czechoslovak Republic, was founded (1919). The research work done by today’s RILSA is based on these traditions and is also inspired by the activities of related institutes and research centres across Europe.
In line with Act No. 341/2005 Coll., on public research institutions, on 1 January 2007 the legal form of the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs changed from a state contributory organisation to a .
The institute’s principal activity is applied research on labour and social affairs issues at a regional, national and international level; this research is formulated in line with the current requirements of state government authorities and possibly non-profit or private entities. The institute also provides consulting services for the users of research outputs, organises seminars and conferences and publishes specialist materials. Research projects are planned every year in collaboration with the institute’s founder and other concerned parties and take into account the continuity of the development of science and research in the areas in question. The institute’s chief research fields are: the labour market and employment; social dialogue and labour relations; social protection; the family; equal opportunities; incomes and wages; social policy theory.
Another integral part of the institute is the department of library and information services.
By a decision of the institute’s founder and in close cooperation with the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University in Brno, a RILSA research centre was established at Joštova 10, 602 00 Brno.