Labour law

Labour law (also known as labor law or employment law) mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work and through the contract for work. Employment standards are social norms (in some cases also technical standards) for the minimum socially acceptable conditions under which employees or contractors are allowed to work. Government agencies (such as the former US Employment Standards Administration) enforce labour law (legislative, regulatory, or judicial).

Labour law arose in parallel with the Industrial Revolution as the relationship between worker and employer changed from small-scale production studios to large-scale factories. Workers sought better conditions and the right to join (or avoid joining) a labour union, while employers sought a more predictable, flexible and less costly workforce. The state of labour law at any one time is therefore both the product of, and a component of struggles between various social forces.

As England was the first country to industrialize, it was also the first to face the often appalling consequences of industrial revolution in a less regulated economic framework. Over the course of the late 18th and early to mid-19th century the foundation for modern labour law was slowly laid, as some of the more egregious aspects of working conditions were steadily ameliorated through legislation. This was largely achieved through the concerted pressure from social reformers, notably Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, and others.

The adoption of labour laws and regulations is an important means of implementing ILO standards, promoting the ILO Declaration and the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and putting the concept of Decent Work into practice. Under the ILO Constitution, the Office is committed to offering technical cooperation and advisory services to member States and to assist them in assessing and, where necessary, framing or revising their labour laws. This includes assistance in the development of national laws and regulations to allow ratification of Conventions or implementation of the corresponding principles.

As per European Commission
What is labour law?
Labour law defines your rights and obligations as workers and employers.

EU labour law covers 2 main areas:
>>> working conditions – working hours, part-time & fixed-term work, posting of workers,
>>> informing & consulting workers about collective redundancies, transfers of companies, etc.

How does it work?
The EU & labour law

EU policies in recent decades have sought to
>>> achieve high employment & strong social protection,
>>> improve living & working conditions,
>>> protect social cohesion.

The EU aims to promote social progress and improve the living and working conditions of the peoples of Europe – see the preamble of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
As regards labour law, the EU complements policy initiatives taken by individual EU countries by setting minimum standards. In accordance with the Treaty – particularly Article 153 – it adopts laws (directives) that set minimum requirements for

>>> working & employment conditions,
>>> informing & consulting workers.

Individual EU countries are free to provide higher levels of protection if they so wish. While the European Working Time Directive entitles workers to 20 days’ annual paid leave, for example, many countries have opted for a more generous right to the benefit of workers.

Source: Wikipedia/ILO/EU

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