Reform in Small Steps: The Case of The Dependent Contractor
The Daunting Enterprise of the Law: Essays in Honour Of Harry Arthurs (Simon Archer, Daniel Drache & Peer Zumbansen eds., 2016) Ch. 14
12 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2016
One of the clear examples for the ability of academics to influence the law, and the ability of law to influence the lives of workers, stems from Harry Arthurs' contribution concerning dependent contractors – an intermediate category between “employees” and independent contractors. The binary divide between the two traditional categories has crucial importance for people who work for others: either they enjoy the protection of numerous regulations (if they fall into the scope of “employees”), or they fall completely out of labour law’s sight. Yet, in real life, the distinctions between different workers are hardly binary. So, the need for a more nuanced regulatory apparatus becomes clear.
This chapter, written for a book in honour of Arthurs, briefly assessed two concrete proposals he made for the adoption of an intermediate category between “employees” and independent contractors. I start by describing the original proposal in made in 1965, then move to explain the logic behind intermediate categories in this area, before assessing the Canadian legislated definition (which adopted Arthurs' proposal to some extent), explaining its deficiencies. I then move to analyze a more recent proposal made by Arthurs for the adoption of an intermediate category (along the same lines), suggesting some amendments that could further improve it.
Keywords: dependent contractor, employee, labour law, labour law, employment law, intermediate category, Harry Arthurs, economic dependency
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