The rhetoric of 'flexibility' and its potential to empower workers forms a key part of employment policy at the EU level. This book examines the regulation of 'flexible' or 'non-standard' forms of work, which include part-time, temporary, and temporary agency work. It unites analysis of changing patterns of work with exploration of the policy debate about how such work should be regulated. McCann explores how workers in non-standard jobs have traditionally been
excluded from the protection of labour law or treated less favourably than the full-time permanent workforce because labour laws have been designed around the 'standard' full-time permanent employee.
Analysing in detail recent United Kingdom legislative reforms and the wider context of the EU and International Labour Organization, this book shows how, although flexible working arrangements are now more strongly protected, they are not fully integrated into UK labour law.
McCann ascribes the continuing disadvantage of flexible workers to the quest to maintain a 'flexible' labour market. She contends that the current balance between ensuring flexibility for employers, and ensuring minimum standards for workers is undermining protection for non-standard workers by allowing their employment rights to be derogated in the interest of labour market flexibility.
Deirdre McCann is a Research Officer at the Conditions of Work and Employment Programme of the International Labour Office in Geneva.