Beyond Employment: The Legal Regulation of Work Relationships
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Australian labour law, at least from the mid-twentieth century, was dominated by the employment paradigm: the assumption that labour law's scope was the regulation of employment relationships -full-time and part-time, and continuing, fixed term or casual - with a single (usually corporate) entity employer. But no sooner had the employment paradigm established and consolidated its shape, it began to fall apart. Since the 1980s there has been a significant growth of patterns of work that fall outside this paradigm, driven by organisational restructuring and management techniques such as labour hire, sub-contracting and franchising. Beyond Employment analyses the way in which Australian labour law is being reframed in this shift away from the pre-eminence of the employment paradigm. Its principal concern is with the legal construction and regulation of various forms of contracting, including labour hire arrangements, complex contractual chains and modern forms like franchising, and of casual employment. It outlines the current array of work relationships in Australia, and describes and analyses the way in which those outside continuous and fixed term employment are regulated. The book seeks to answer the central question: How does law (legal rules and principles) construct these work relationships, and how does it regulate these relationships? The book identifies the way in which current law draws the lines between the various work relationships through the use of contract and property ownership, and describes, analyses and synthesises the legal rules that govern these different forms of work relationships. The legal rules that govern work relationships are explored through the traditional lens of labour law's protective function, principally in four themes: control of property, and the distribution of risks and rewards; maintenance of income security; access to collective voice mechanisms, focusing on collective bargaining; and health, safety and welfare. The book critically evaluates the gaps in the coverage and content of these rules and principles, and the implications of these gaps for workers. It also reflects upon the power relationships that underpin the work arrangements that are the focus of the book and that are enhanced through the laws of contract and property. Finally, it frames an agenda to address the gaps and identified weaknesses insofar as they affect the economic wellbeing, democratic voice, and health and safety of workers.