Established by an Australian lawyer Paul Brennan to create awareness of the legal challenges employees and small businesses undergo, thereby reducing their risks through legal education, Employee Legal Awareness Day, celebrated on February 13, focuses on your rights as an employee. On this day, employees are encouraged to seek to understand their rights as employees and the company policies provided in the employee’s manual.


Labor laws mediate between the employer, employee, and union. Employees and employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these laws to avoid breaching these laws. 

It all began with the need to do away with child labor in the late 1700s after a fever broke out in Cotton Mills in Manchester that raised questions about dangerous work conditions and child labor.

After that, children’s working hours were recommended to be reduced when the justices of peace instituted a local inquiry for Lancashire.

The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, established in 1802,  sought to limit working hours to twelve a day and scrapped night work. It also required basic education, adequate accommodation, and clothing for all trainees. In 1819, industrialist Robert Owen created the Cotton Mills and Factories Act that abolished child labor for children below nine years and capped working hours at 12.

Thereafter in 1833, the Factories Act came into place, limiting the employment of children below 18 years of age and abolishing night work entirely. Inspectors were then involved in enforcing this law. The Factory Act was then passed in 1847, restricting the working hours of women and children to 10 hours per day in British factories.

Attention was then paid to not only children but all workers from the 19th century, and with a series of further Acts in 1860 and 1872, legal provisions were extended. Safety provisions were also strengthened, leading to the Coal Mine Act of 1872, extending the legislation to similar industries.



1. Learn your rights.
As an employee, this is the time to learn about your rights and try to understand them. Learn about labor laws governing the country you come from and how they apply to you.

2.  Read your employer’s handbook .
Company policies are important documents that we need to read and understand in the employers’ book, which is available.

3. Organize an Awareness Session.
As an employer, this is an opportunity to organize familiarization sessions with your employees to educate them on their rights and responsibilities. You can use virtual, trivial, and even courses that would assist in achieving the goal of awareness.


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