What is Employment Law?

The term Employment Law covers a wide range of topics that relate to the employee and employer relationship. It is also commonly referred to as Labor or Labour Law. It encompasses a body of laws, restrictions, administrative rulings and precedents that address the legal rights of working people as well as restrictions of the employer and employee relationship.

The basic feature of employment law in almost every country is that the rights and obligations with the employee and employer relationship are governed and mediated through a contract between the two. However, many of the terms and conditions of the contract are implied by legislation and common law. In the United States, the majority of state laws allow for employment "at will", meaning the employer is able to terminate an employee for any reason, as long as the reason is not an illegal reason.

One of the most common employment laws incorporated in most countries around the world is the Minimum Wage law. The minimum wage is the lowest wage an employee can be paid and is determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market. This acts as a price floor.

The United States was the first country to employ a minimum wage in 1938. This was followed by India in 1948, France in 1950 and the United Kingdom in 1998. In the European Union, 18 of the 25 states have minimum wage laws.

Another common employment law is the Working Time law. This not only governs the amount of time an adult is allowed to work, but also the amount of time that children can work. This also includes mandates of how much vacation time must be given to employees.

In the United States, the Wages and Hours Act of 1938 set the maximim standard work week to 44 hours and in 1950, this was reduced to 40 hours. Despite this law, there are some jobs that require more than 40 hours to complete the tasks of the job. For example, if you are a farm worker, you can work over 72 hours a week, if you want to. However, you cannot be required to.

These laws are the most common employment laws in use today. However, there are dozens of other laws regulating and protecting the employer and employee relationship.

Notes for editors: Claire Jarrett recommends 11sb, who are Employment Lawyers


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