Compliance with and Enforcement of Labour Laws: An Overview and Some Timely Challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The problem of enforcement has become a major concern of labour law in recent years. Instances of violations are increasing, or at the very least awareness to this phenomenon is increasing, leading legislatures and scholars around the world to search for innovative solutions. Clearly there is not much point in labour laws if employers do not comply with them, and especially if the most vulnerable employees, who need labour laws the most, do not actually enjoy them. The goal of this contribution is to review the main tools and possible solutions to improve compliance. I will offer a broad overview of such solutions, without getting into the details (which require much more space), except for pointing out some of the main current challenges.<br><br>Section I explains why labour laws are inherently challenging to enforce, and why the problem has exacerbated in recent years. Section II explains the difference between a focus on compliance and a focus on enforcement. Although the two are sometimes described as opposing approaches, I argue that they are both needed and compatible, and in section III combine them into a framework of three steps needed to secure compliance. I then focus most of the discussion on methods to reduce the ability of an employer to benefit from a violation (section IV) and methods to increase the cost of violations once they have occurred (section V). Throughout the article, most of my examples will come from Israeli law, which I am most familiar with; but there are similar examples in other legal systems (which I will sometimes point out).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-127
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2021


  • labour law
  • labour law
  • employment law
  • enforcement


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