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Labor law
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Labor law

General subfields within
the Labor movement
Child labor
Labor in economics
Labor history
Labor law
Labor rights
Labor union
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Labor law or \labour law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the relationship between and among employers, employees, and labor organizationss, often dealing with issues of public law. It is distinguished between employment law which deals only with employment contracts and issues regarding employment and workplace discrimination and other private law issues.

Hours of Labor

Before the Industrial Revolution, the workday varied between 11 and 14 hours. With the growth of capitalism and the introduction of machinery, longer hours became far more common, with 14-15 hours being the norm, and 16 not at all uncommon.

The first law on the length of a working day was passed in 1833 in England, limiting miners to 12 hours, and children to 8 hours. The 10-hour day was established in 1848, and shorter hours with the same pay were gradually accepted thereafter. In the United States, employers generally accepted the 8-hour day as of 1912. The Wages and Hours Act of 1938 set the maximum standard work week to 44 hours, and in 1950 this was reduced to 40 hours.

Safety concerns

Other labor laws involve safety concerning workers. The earliest English factory law was drafted in 1802 and dealt with the safety and health of child textile workers.


Unions were legalised in 1825, although agreements among members to seek better hours and wages were punishable as conspiracy until 1871. In the United States, the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 outlawed the use of injunctions in labor disputes, the 1935 Wagner Act, which led to the establishment of the National Labor Relations Board required employers to accept collective bargaining. The Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 greatly altered the labor resolutions of the 1930s to a more conservative standpoint, and introduced a 80-day injunction procedure in labor disputes that were deemed to affect the national welfare.

See also