Why is Labour Law Necessary?

Why is Labour Law Necessary?

When industrialisation first became a force to be reckoned with, workplaces were only regulated by the ethics of the ownership and the bargaining power of the employees. As you can imagine, workers were at the receiving end of unfair labour treatment. Illiterate, desperate and sweating hard for their money, workers were often exploited, discriminated against and forced to work long hours under inhuman conditions. Fortunately, owing to the creation of labour laws, those days are long gone.

Labour Law Legislation Was Intended to Set the Imbalance Right

In South Africa, employees operate under a master-servant relationship. What this means is that the employee (the servant) is required to carry out their duties under the supervision of the employer (the master). This is where labour law comes into play. Designed to referee the relationship between employees, employers and trade unions, as well as promote productive, safe workplaces, labour laws are an important part of running any business. Not only do these laws offer protection to both the employee and employer, but these laws also ensure that employees receive their fair wage, ensure job security, regulate breaks and work hours, minimise labour unrest, promote better working conditions, provide compensation to employees who are victims of accidents, and reduce conflicts and strikes. Ultimately, the necessity of labour laws is to balance out the master-servant relationship, ensure that workers have the same opportunities, and protect the employer’s productivity and profits.

There are many aspects of labour law. So much so that many employers and employees don’t realise how many rules and regulations there are, thus leading to uncertainty, confusion and financial losses for both employees and employers. For these very reasons, it is of vital importance for both employees and employers to either brush up on the labour laws that affect the employer-employee relationship, or consult with labour law attorneys to avoid the above. For instance, employers need to ensure that they are up to date with all the aspects of workplace laws, so that they can provide a favourable working environment, and employees need to understand their rights and what is expected of them. Failure to adhere to labour law can easily cost both employees and employers dearly. In South Africa, labour laws fall under the following workplace laws:

  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA)
  • Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA)
  • Employment Equity Act (EEA)
  • Labour Relations Act (LRA)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
  • Skills Development Act (SDA)
  • Skills Development Levies Act (SDLA)
  • South African Qualifications Authority Act (SAQA)
  • The Constitution (Bill of Rights)
  • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)


About Allardyce & Partners

Registered as specialised labour lawyers with the Law Society of South Africa, we are a firm specialising in labour law and employment law. Taking great pride in our specialised labour law services, not only do we have the expertise, understanding and compassion, but we also have the legal muscle to deal with every type of workplace matter, and have acted in numerous high-profile cases throughout South Africa. Boasting a formidable reputation complemented with the backing of an exceptional team of attorneys and paralegals – we provide employers, employees, trade unions and employer organisations with legal advice, and representation in CCMA, bargaining councils, labour court and labour appeal cases. Not only do we have the expertise, but when you turn to our team of experts, you will find that we provide a supportive, compassionate and caring representation. For more information about our specialised labour law services and rates, contact us at reception@www.allardyce.co.za or on 011 234 2125 today.


NB: this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.

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