Employment regulations vary by jurisdiction and in some places in the world are not regulated by any government agency. Common employment regulations include standards for compensation, safety, and age. Some areas include protection from discrimination as part of employee rights. These regulations are often developed to help protect workers from companies that would otherwise take advantage of them. Whether or not the employment regulations in an area adequately protect employees is a matter of opinion and is often contested even in highly regulated areas.
Commonly, employment regulations cover the amount that must be paid to an employee. This amount may be determined hourly, monthly, or by any other standard of time. Even in areas where there is a minimum wage, certain professions and informal jobs are often exempt from this regulation.
Employee safety is another area frequently regulated by external agencies. Usually, employees have the right to be free from harm, and if working in an environment causes the employee harm, he or she may have the right to be compensated for that damage. This may be true only of accidents in which the worker is actively injured or may apply to more extended injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. In some areas, employee safety is not regulated in all industries, resulting in high rates of employee injury or illness.
Many areas regulate the minimum age of employees. This is primarily to protect children from being forced to work. Employment regulations that determine who is eligible to work are often conditional, and a child with certain parental approval may be eligible. Historically and currently, employment regulations have been used to prevent a wide variety of other groups from obtaining certain types of employment. For example, in some areas women are not legally allowed to work outside the home.
Other employment regulations may depend on the situation or protect employees from very specific types of harm. For instance, an employee may be protected from termination due to refusal to commit an illegal act. Companies often inform new employees of these special rights to ensure that they are never violated by any employee.
Employment regulations may vary not only by jurisdiction but also by industry. Specific types of employees, such as government employees, may be subject to different regulations as well. Given the many variations, it is a good idea to be clear on the relevant laws in order to protect one's self at work. The best way to find out what specific regulations govern one's employment is to check with local agencies. In many areas, employers are required to keep this information on hand as well.