The Vulnerable Worker? A Labor Law Challenge for WIL and Work Experience

Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Vol. 14(3), p. 135-146, 2013

Posted: 4 Oct 2017 Last revised: 11 Jan 2018

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The Fair Work Act (2009) in Australia deregulates “work” in work-integrated learning (WIL) by distinguishing “vocational placement” from “employee”. Following concerns about the legal position of WIL and work experience, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) published a fact sheet and commenced a joint research project into unpaid work practices. Nevertheless, the student remains vulnerable to exploitation. This article examines, through the lenses of flexibility and worker protection, the labor regulation of WIL and work experience in Australia and the United States. In particular, the author argues that deregulation in Australia and the legal uncertainty surrounding work experience is inconsistent with the protective function of labor law. Drawing on this examination as well as Australian migration law, the author recommends that the Fair Work Act (2009) be amended to strengthen the criteria for “vocational placement” and to provide a definition of “work experience” in the interests of a balanced regulatory framework.

Keywords: Work-Integrated Learning, Work Experience, Labor Regulation, Fair Work Act, Fair Labor Standards Act

JEL Classification: K31

Suggested Citation

Cameron, Craig, The Vulnerable Worker? A Labor Law Challenge for WIL and Work Experience (2013). Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Vol. 14(3), p. 135-146, 2013 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044931

Craig Cameron (Contact Author)

Griffith University ( email )

Brisbane, Queensland 4111
Australia
55587623 (Phone)

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