Labour Market Justice and the Concept of Employment
Daniel Halliday (University of Melbourne)

November 19, 2019, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Australian Catholic University

Videoconference room, Level 4, 250 Victoria Parade


Australian Catholic University


This talk will explore some ways in which idea of the employment contract is an area of distinctive normative enquiry. More specifically, I will address questions about the just boundary of employment contracts (how to separate cases where a worker sells labour on a freelance or self-employed basis from cases of employment) and about the just content of employment contracts (what can be included in the terms of an employment contract). While there are theoretical motivations for this work,these are heightened by some ongoing disputes about both boundary and content in the Australian labour market, such as those relating to labour sold via digital platforms (eg Uber), and free speech (eg Israel Folau). I will argue that we should evaluate employment not as a relationship (as seems to be typical in political philosophy) but more broadly as a practice: Employed workers seek to trade some set of freedoms for some set of guarantees, whereas freelance workers seek to retain the freedoms while foregoing the guarantees. Once filled out, this approach helps us to make progress on both the boundary and content questions.

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