What is Labour Law?

Labour law, also known as employment law or labour and employment law, is a branch of law that governs the legal rights, obligations, and relationships between employers, employees, labour unions, and the government within the workplace. Its primary purpose is to ensure fair and equitable treatment of workers and employers, promote safe and healthy working conditions, and establish a framework for resolving employment-related disputes.


Key aspects and principles of labour law typically include:

Employment Contracts: Labour laws often regulate the formation and terms of employment contracts, which define the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.

Minimum Wage: Many labour laws establish a minimum wage that employers must pay to their employees, ensuring that workers receive a certain level of compensation for their labour.

Working Hours and Overtime: Labour laws may specify the maximum number of hours an employee can work in a day or week and mandate overtime pay for hours worked beyond regular working hours.

Child Labour: These laws prohibit the employment of minors or set strict limitations on the types of work, hours, and conditions in which minors can be employed.

Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity: Labour laws often include provisions that prohibit workplace discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, age, disability, religion, or national origin.

Workplace Safety and Health: Regulations and standards are established to ensure that employers maintain safe working conditions and provide necessary safety equipment and training to employees.

Employee Benefits: Labour laws may require employers to provide certain benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid leave.

Collective Bargaining: Labour law provides a framework for the formation and operation of labour unions, allowing workers to collectively negotiate with employers for better wages, working conditions, and employment terms.

Termination and Layoffs: Labour laws often specify the conditions under which employees can be terminated or laid off and may require notice periods or severance pay.

Unfair Labour Practices: Labour laws typically prohibit unfair labour practices by both employers and labour unions, such as interfering with employees’ rights to organise or engage in collective bargaining.

Employment Standards Enforcement: Labour law agencies or departments are responsible for enforcing labour laws and ensuring compliance by employers.

Labour laws can vary significantly from one country or jurisdiction to another, and they may also differ based on industry, size of the employer, and other factors. Compliance with labour laws is essential for both employers and employees to maintain a fair and harmonious workplace and to protect the rights and well-being of workers. Violations of labour laws can result in legal actions, penalties, and remedies to rectify unfair practices.

Check out Links’ quarterly round up of APAC labour law updates.