Distributive Justice and Labour Law
Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (Hugh Collins, Gillian Lester & Virginia Mantouvalou eds., OUP 2018) Ch. 8
21 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2019 Last revised: 24 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 1, 2017
Redistribution is considered one of the main goals of labour law. When we refer to redistribution as a goal, we usually do so, implicitly, as shorthand for distributive justice. The goal of this chapter is to explore theories of distributive justice, and ask to what extent current labour laws are in line with those ideas, and what else labour law can (or should) do to advance this goal. I examine several theories: that distributive justice should be based on ‘desert’; theories of distributional equality – notably, luck egalitarianism – which demand redistribution in order to achieve equality in distribution; and theories of redistribution as instrumental to the advancement of equality. At the end of each part I will briefly consider the possible implications for labour law, both in terms of employer-employee relations and in terms of intra-worker distribution. The question will be: what kinds of labour market regulations (if at all) can be supported by each distributive justice theory? Specifically, to what extent do these theories justify existing labour laws? Then in the concluding part some remarks are offered on one area that requires new labour law regulations to address distributive justice concerns: in light of the previous parts, I will suggest several steps that should be taken to address divisions in two-tier and dual labour markets.
Keywords: distributive justice, labour law, labour law, employment law, purposes, goals, desert, luck egalitarianism, relational equality
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