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It is important for both employers and employees to understand employment law. Employers need to be aware of the different rules and regulations that the government has put in place to protect employees’ rights and ensure fair working conditions. Employees need to know their entitlements and the legal options available to them if they feel they are being unfairly treated in the workplace. In this summary we will explore some of the key aspects of employment law that will prove helpful to both company owners and to those in an employee role.

Working Conditions

One of the major aspects dealt with by employment law is the working conditions of employees, both in terms of general employment law relating to all industries and in some cases specific laws for an individual industry. Employment law has developed over time to cover a wide range of different aspects of employer-employee relations, including areas such as how much maternity leave should be granted to parents and at what age a person should be allowed to begin work. In its inception, employment law was largely focussed on improving the conditions of employees when exploitative working conditions were the norm in the 18th and 19th century. However, now it covers many aspects of work and is far more nuanced than it was before.

Wages, Hours and Conditions

In modern day economies employment law has been enacted in such a way so as to have an effect on virtually every aspect of working life. For example, governments will legislate to impose a minimum wage law which forces employers to pay every employee a minimum hourly rate in exchange for their labour. This can become more complicated with the minimum wage varying across age groups and across different states and cities, as is seen in the USA. Employment law also dictates the maximum number of hours an individual can officially work per week. It also determines whether or not employers are required to grant employees a break, and if so for how long and how often.

How Employment Law Is Decided

Employment law is a key area of law due to the high level of impact it has on both employees and employers alike. In theory employment law is designed through the electoral system, which is decided through the democratic process in most countries. In practice much lobbying is done by representatives of both employees and employers and a balance is struck. Much is at state for both parties as even a small rise in the minimum wage can have a large financial impact of employers, while successfully securing better working conditions for employees can have a similarly large impact. A large number of lawyers specialise only in employment law and may represent individuals or organisations on specific legal cases.

Employment law continues to develop and is increasingly wide-ranging. For law makers it is important to strike the right balance to ensure as fair a deal for both employers and employees, and for producers and consumers. It is an ongoing process that those involves many parties, especially including politicians and employment law legal expertise.