Labor laws are the laws that are concerned with employees and their employers. These laws cover the restrictions that are applied to them as well as the rights of each party. The laws act as a mediator in the relationship between the two parties and in trade unions. In many countries the laws that are applied to individuals as opposed to unionized workplaces may vary. The labor movement has been one of the biggest motivators of the enactment of labor laws to protect the rights of the employees.
Function and origins
Labor laws owe their origins to the demands put forward by workers for better conditions and the right to become unionized as well as the demands of the employers for the restriction of the power of the union and to keep labor costs down. The labor laws can result in increased costs to employers as they are demanded to pay better wages and provide work environments that comply with health and safety laws. The unions formed by the workers can also develop into powerful organisations that are able to command political issues. These can lead to regulation of the powers of the unions being necessary and limited in some countries.
Labor law is divided into two compartments which are those that are concerned with employees rights and those that govern the activity of trade unions and other worker groups. Trade unions are the most common form of worker groups that are defined in labor law. Strikes that are organized by unions are the largest weapon employed by workers in industrial disputes. Pickets are another tactic employeed by workers during strikes. Other tools include boycotts and other unofficial industrial actions. Issues such as child labor, rights at work, equal opportunity, work hours, health and safety and minimum wages are also topics covered in labor laws.