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Labour law

What is Labour Law?

Labour law is a body of legislation that defines your rights and obligations as workers and employers in the workplace.  

At Community level, labour law covers two main areas:

  • Working conditions, including working time, part-time and fixed-term work, and posting of workers
  • Information and consultation of workers, including in the event of collective redundancies and transfers of undertakings.

How does it work?

The European Community has worked towards achieving a high level of employment and social protection, improved living and working conditions and economic and social cohesion.

In this framework, the role of the European Community (EC) is to support and complement the activities of the Member States in the area of social policy, in line with the provisions of the EC Treaty, particularly Articles 136-139. 

To this aim, the EC adopts legislation defining minimum requirements at EU level in the fields of working and employment conditions and the information and consultation of workers. The Member States then transpose the Community law into their national law and implement it, guaranteeing a similar level of protection of your rights and obligations throughout the EU. 

National authorities, including courts, are responsible for the enforcement of the national transposition measures. The Commission controls the transposition of EU law and ensures through systematic monitoring that it is correctly implemented. The European Court of Justice plays an important role in settling disputes and providing legal advice to questions formulated by national courts on the interpretation of the law.

What are the outcomes?

The adoption of legislation setting minimum requirements has improved labour standards and strengthened workers' rights and is one of European Union's main achievements in the field of social policy. 

Initially, EC labour law was designed with the aim of ensuring that the creation of the Single Market did not lead to a lowering of labour standards or distortions in competition. 

Today, labour law also has a key role in ensuring that a high level of employment and sustained economic growth is accompanied by continuous improvement of the living and working conditions throughout the European Union. 


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