IntroductionWith globalization and increased internationalization of corporations, the field of comparative employment relations continues to elicit heightened attention from scholars and policy makers. Consequently, various laws have been enacted to protect employees from exploitation by employers. However, the exploitation of employees looks more likely than ever before especially with specific regard to discrimination of women in the workplace. On the other hand, critics argue that laws designed to protect employees tend to contribute to unemployment and increase poverty levels. However, there is general consensus that labor standards achieve more than just protecting employees from exploitation.
This paper critically examines issues in international and comparative employment relations. To achieve this, the paper is structured in two parts; part A describes the circumstances under which national minimum wage laws will be effective in protecting employees from exploitation and the circumstances under which laws are effective in eliminating gender-based discrimination in the workplace both in the United States and China. Part B of the paper defines and discusses the distinctive features of employment relations as a field of study, defines and compares ‘description’ and ‘explanation’ as analytical processes in comparative employment relations and discusses the benefits to be gained from studying comparative employment relations.
Part A1. Under what circumstances will national minimum wage laws be effective in protecting employees from exploitation? Your answer must include argument and evidence from at least two countries USA – Saudi Arabia – Australia - China. Minimum wage refers to the legal minimum hourly compensation rate for labor for specific groups of workers. Scholars and analysts agree that national minimum laws protect employees from exploitation by employers. In this regard, the laws are understood to reduce poverty although this argument has been controversial.
Critics argue that national minimum laws do not guarantee employment and tend to price low-skilled workers out of the market (Hirshi, 2009). Generally, critics argue that minimum wage laws contribute to unemployment and slow economic growth. However, various circumstances are required for national minimum wage laws to protect employees from exploitation. In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the standards for federal minimum wages via the Wage and Hour Division. The minimum wage laws address legal requirements and stipulate the minimum wages that should be paid to workers.
The ILO comprises of three principle institutions that contribute in protection of employee rights; the International Institute of Labor Studies, the International Labor Office and the permanent secretariat with its headquarters in Geneva. One area that the U. S. minimum wage laws protect employees from the exploitation is through the promotion of social dialogue between employers and employees organizations. The ILO achieves this by promoting technical cooperation with labor organizations and institutional bodies. This cooperation includes standards for ensuring the protection of employees in an integrated framework of technical cooperation.
A critical aspect of this cooperation is in the protection of human rights. The ILO standards promote human rights by tying labor standards to economic progress and individual freedom. Based on this argument it is imperative that the national minimum wage law offers economic security and equal opportunity to employees.