Labour laws or labour legislations are used to cover all the laws of the government which have been enacted to deal with employment and nonemployment, wages, working conditions, industrial relations, social and economic security, and welfare of persons employed in industries.
Labour law or employment law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents that address the relationship between and among employers, employees, and labour organizations, often dealing with issues of public law. Labour laws emerged when employers tried to restrict the powers of workers’ organisations and keep labour costs low. The workers began demanding better conditions and the right to organise so as to improve their standard of living. Employer’s costs increased due to workers’ demand to win higher wages or better working conditions.
This led to a chaotic situation that required the intervention of the Government. In order to put an end to the disputes between the ever-warring employer and employee, the Government enacted many labour laws. Labour laws harmonize many angles of the relationship between trade unions, employers, and employees.
In some countries (like Canada), labour laws related to unionized workplaces are different from those relating to particular individuals. In most countries, however, no such distinction is made. In India, labour laws are so numerous, complex, and ambiguous that they promote litigation rather than the resolution of problems relating to industrial relations.
The labour movement has been instrumental in the enacting of laws protecting labour rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Labour rights have been integral to social and economic development since the industrial revolution.