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International Employment Law

International Employment Law
International Employment Law

As of 2024, there are over 60,000 multinational companies operating worldwide; tens of millions of people are employed by multinational employers. With the increase in global employment, it is likely that these numbers will only continue to increase over time. The international network of employers and employees can create confusion; it is hard to know what labor laws apply to who, and when. If you are an American expatriate living in Canada while working for a company based in the US, are your rights determined by US law or Canadian law? Conversely, if you are living in the US and working for an employer based in Mexico, is your labor regulated by American or Mexican law? Employment issues can be stressful enough – adding questions about what laws and jurisdictions apply is another stressful element. An employment lawyer can help.

International Employment Law

Is there an International Labor Law?

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. There is no international judicial or regulatory body upholding universal labor and/or employment laws. Instead, “international labor law” generally refers to the collection of rules that address the rights of employees, employers, and trade unions across different countries. International law can also be considered a branch of comparative law and focus on the comparison of laws between different countries.

While there is no set international labor law, there are International Labor Standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations. The International Labor Standards are a series of moral based conventions agreed upon by international actors, aimed at protecting basic rights of workers and improving terms of employment worldwide. The standards set by the ILO represent the minimum level of protection, while countries may establish more stringent labor laws. The ILO establishes four fundamental principles that the International Labor Standards hinge upon. First, the right of employees to engage in collective bargaining. Second, the prohibition of forced labor. Third, the prohibition of child labor. Fourth, the prohibition of unfair discrimination among workers. 187 countries have signed onto the ILO’s International Labor Standards, including 53 countries in Africa, 43 countries in Asia, 52 countries in Europe, and 33 countries in Latin America, along with other nations in North America, the Middle East, and the Pacific. All 187 nation states are obligated to uphold these principals as their minimum labor standard.

If you believe that International Labor Standards are being breached, speak to an employment attorney.

What Local Laws Apply to You?

Employment Laws are country specific, and can be unique down to the state and local laws. Even within the European Union, which sets labor standards for Europe, specific laws vary from Italy to Germany to France. Where you live, work, and where your employer is based may impact your employment situation. Likewise, the frequency with which you travel may impact your employment; for example, if you work in one country but return to your country of residence on a weekly basis you may be considered a cross-border worker and may be subject to unique rules. Country, state, and local laws impact the legality of employment contracts, employment agreements, working hours, employee benefits, restructuring regulations, and the minimum wage.

On the whole, what laws apply to you, and when, is highly case dependent. If you live and work in different countries, or work for a company based outside the country or state of your residence, it is important to figure out what employment regulations apply to you. Law firms that specialize in employment law will be able to assist you in determining what jurisdiction you fall under.

Reach Out to Avloni Law

Navruz Avloni is an experienced employment attorney dedicated to supporting her clients. If you are uncertain about what laws apply to you, or if you are having an employment issue and work for a multinational company, reach out to Avloni Law for a free consultation.

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