Employment laws are in place to not only protect employers, but also employees, and are vital to protecting a country’s standard of living for all citizens. While most countries have their own versions of laws, most standards address the following: overworked employees, the placement of employees in unhealthy or dangerous environments, appropriate compensation if an employee is rendered unable to work. Some countries extend this coverage to protecting their employees from discrimination.
Origins of employment law stem from the Industrial Revolution, a time during which employees were highly mistreated, and also lack legal protection from employers. Employers during that time were able to treat employees however they seemed fit. Employees were often paid very little for working long hours, often just as long as they were physically able to. On top of that, working conditions were deplorable – filthy if not downright hazardous. Workers received no benefits or compensation in the even of an accident occurring on the job. Children were also exploited as part of the workforce, and often subjected to employment abuse.
Growth in the Workforce
As more and more people left rural lives to work in cities, it became obvious that employment law was necessary to help improve the lives of employees. As the workforce grew, the government needed to take larger strides to protect the rights of workers.
Early employment law helped establish fair wages, limit the number of work hours per week, and also prevented child labor. The workplace now had to be kept clean, and precautions were put in place to protect employees and prevent dangerous accidents. While these were good first steps, many other improvements have been added over the years.