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A term encompassing labour law and law relating to social security. Attempts to define "social legislation" have been fruitless. The general conviction is that the word "social" is at the very least equivocal, since all law is essentially social, being a phenomenon of society. In this context, however, the word customarily carries the meaning of "protective". Initially, therefore, social legislation was defined as the body of laws enacted in order to protect those who are economically weak. Although this definition of its purpose is acceptable from the historical viewpoint, it has to be acknowledged today that it is no longer adequate as a definition of social legislation. Both social security and labour law nowadays also cover, for example, those who might be termed economically strong. Furthermore, social security also applies to the self-employed and to employees in the public sector. See labour law , social security , subordination .

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009