Decoding Employment Status

Deakin (2020) King's Law Journal, 31:2, 180-193

There is much at stake in the classification of work relations: on the one hand, the stability of the tax base and the capacity of the state to deliver public goods; on the other, the structure of enterprise and the rights of workers in the ‘gig’ economy and beyond. Classification decisions, however, are made using legal concepts which many view as artificial and manipulable, to the point where it is hard to discern the considerations which are actually guiding decisions. Decomposing the ‘employment’ concept reveals something of the implicit ‘weighting’ of tests and indicators which underlies judicial and administrative determinations. Viewed in this light, statutory reformulations such as the ‘ABC’ test can play a role in ‘reweighting’ the classification process, extending the protective coverage of labour laws and resisting fiscal erosion.

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