Lesson 3: The Application of Labour Rules

AutorPilar Núñez-Cortés Contreras
Cargo del AutorProfesora Titular de Área. Universidad Loyola Andalucía

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1. Introduction

In this lesson we are studying the legal principles to apply labour rules. These principles are established by the laws and by the jurisprudence and are criteria for applying rules. The principle of hierarchical normative and also some specific principles for application of labour rules (minimum and more favourable rule) are included among them.

2. The application of labour rules

2.1 The principle of hierarchical normative Definition

This principle is a general criterion for the application of rules. Some rules are hierarchically superior to others. In consequence, the inferior rules cannot contradict the superior ones under penalty of nullity (inapplication decided by judges and courts).


· The act is superior to the regulations.

· The collective agreements are inferior to the act.

Labour law rules hierarchy (based on the power of the governing body)

In the Spanish labour law system labour rules are hierarchically organized in the giving sequence:

  1. The EU rules which are directly applicable (EU regulations, treaties, directives)

  2. International rules (ILO conventions and international treaties agreed by two or more countries)

  3. The Spanish Constitution

  4. Acts passed by the Cortes Generales

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  5. Government regulations

  6. Collective agreements by the social parties

    On the daily basis, the relationship between an employee and his/her company is mainly arranged through:

    · TheEmployee'sStatute

    · The applicable collective agreement in his/her company.

    · The employment contract signed by the employer and the employee. Examples:


    The employee contracts at ETEA are based on these main sources:

    · The Employee's Statute

    · The collective agreement of private universities (higher private education agreement for Spain) 2011.

    · The specific labour contract between the institution ETEA and the employee.


    At the Hotel Ritz Madrid, the employment relationship with its employees is arranged through:

    · TheEmployee'sStatute

    · The Hotel Ritz collective agreement

    · The employment contract between the employees and the company

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2.2. The principle of minimum rule

Higher rules establish a minimum which needs to be respected by lower rules. In consequence, the minimum rights established by the...

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