Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

For many countries, "Labour Day" is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on 1 May and in the UK it’s called May Day. Some countries vary the actual date of their celebrations so that the holiday occurs on a Monday close to 1 May.