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Labour Law in an Era of GlobalizationTransformative Practices and Possibilities$
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Joanne Conaghan, Richard Michael Fischl, and Karl Klare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199271818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271818.001.0001

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Who Needs Labour Law? Defining the Scope of Labour Protection

Who Needs Labour Law? Defining the Scope of Labour Protection

Chapter:
(p.74) (p.75) 4 Who Needs Labour Law? Defining the Scope of Labour Protection
Source:
Labour Law in an Era of Globalization
Author(s):

Benjamin Paul

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271818.003.0005

Drawing on the experience of South Africa's ambitious efforts to reform labour law so as to serve a people left impoverished and under-skilled by apartheid, this chapter explores the folly of deploying a binary and centuries-old legal distinction to sort out the gradations of dependency and subordination found in contemporary work relationships. Defining an employee raises two related but distinct issues. The first is an issue of legislative policy — what legal instruments and institutions should determine who receives the protection of labour law. The second is a question of judicial interpretation — how courts and other arbitral forums interpret legal definitions of who should be covered by labour law. This chapter seeks to address both these issues. It suggests that the legislators have retained the traditional approach of placing the responsibility for determining who should receive the protection of labour law in the hands of the courts.

Keywords:   apartheid, South Africa, subordination, employee, labour statutes

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