Non-waivability in labour law

Guy Davidov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Non-waivability is considered a basic principle of labour law. In most cases, it is needed to protect employees against coerced waivers. But what if an employee genuinely wants to waive some labour right, for example in return for a higher salary? This article explains why non-waivability is generally justified even against the wishes of employees, for reasons of paternalism, harm to others and second-order justifications. At the same time, in some cases, there is room for intermediate solutions, which can be used to better respect the autonomy of employees and achieve additional benefits without undermining the goals of labour laws. The article employs this analysis to examine two concrete issues by way of example: waiving of 'employee' status and the individual opt-out from maximum weekly hours. In the latter context, while I critique the current law, I argue that some form of conditional waiver could be acceptable.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)482-507
Number of pages26
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Autonomy
  • Employment law
  • Labour law
  • Mandatory rights
  • Non-waivability
  • Paternalism


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