Employment standards are the minimum standards of employment in an organization. These minimum standards are regulated by governments and put into laws in order to regulate employment agreements. Some of the topics included in legal and legistlative developments in HR include: minimum wage, meal breaks, hours of work and overtime, termination, sexual harassment, and parental leave. These are just a few examples, as many more regulations have been created by different government regulatory departments for different countries and states.
Any human resource policy that is developed needs to fit within the government regulated policies¹. Employment standards legislation provides a minimum benchmark for companies to model their employment contracts. Employers are free to create policies that go above and beyond what is allowed by the law. Many companies offer more than the law states as a minimum in order to attract high-quality talent.
Governments have dedicated departments or ministers in charge of labor relations in order to help employers and employees. Every state and province has different regulations and has the authority to change the laws regarding employment. An example of this might be a state with a higher cost of living raising the minimum wage in order to help some employees live better. Employers need to be aware of the legal implications of not following the legal codes established by governments. Punishments can range anywhere from warnings, to fines and imprisonment depending on the labor law being broken. As illegal immigration becomes a more prevalent issue in the United States, punishments for organizations breaking hiring laws are becoming more severe. Therefore, labor laws are malleable and ever-changing depending on current economic policies and social movements.
1. HR Policies & Employment Legislation. Retrieved from http://hrcouncil.ca/hr-toolkit/policies-employment-legislation.cfm