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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 23 No 1 (2005) Work, Family and the Law

Rethinking Place of Work: Federal Labour Law Framework for Contemporary Home-Based Work and its Prospects in Australia

Marilyn Pittard is Professor of Law and Associate Dean (Postgraduate Studies) in the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Melbourne; and editor of the Employment Law Bulletin and member of the editorial board, Australian Journal of Labour Law.

This chapter explores the legal framework for the classic model and contemporary models of home-based work. It examines some of the problems with the regulation of traditional homeworking within the federal system and argues that there have been some devices intro­duced in recent times which ameliorate but do not eliminate the exploitation of such classic homeworkers. More recently, certified agree­­ments, awards, employer policy and individual work arrange­ments have permitted employees to work at home via modern technology and electronic means for some days per week or tem­porarily for periods, in certain circumstances, thus providing a contemporary model for home-based work and its regulation. The chapter analyses in detail the nature and content of agreements and awards in the private and public sectors which deal with home­working and argues that the ability to undertake home-based work remains a management prerogative in Australia today. The influence of ILO labour standards and the impact of anti-discrimi­nation legis­lation on the right to work from home are analysed. The chapter argues that the Employment Rights Act in the United Kingdom and Australian developments in other areas provide a suitable template for giving employees a right to request to undertake work at home which must not be unreasonably refused.

(2005) Volume 23 No 1 Law in Context 148

   
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