In this chapter I consider the most fundamental issue of employment law — what is meant by the word ‘employment’, I look first at what is involved in the process of defining ‘employment’, Is it, for example, a matter of discovering what the word entails, in much the same way that a scientist uncovers facts about an identified physical entity, or is it perhaps better seen as a process of constructing an idea in the most beneficial and logical way? I then turn to the idea that ‘employment’ is best seen as a conceptual tool, the meaning of which is determined by the purposes for which the concept is needed. This leads to an examination of the issue as to whether the question of what is meant by ‘employment’ is a matter of law or fact, and why that is important. I then examine the debate concerning whether employment can be seen as a unified concept, albeit sometimes viewed from different perspectives, or if the different definitions of employment in various parts of the law indicate that it is simply that the same word is used for convenience to cover a variety of closely-related, yet nevertheless different, ideas. Finally, I examine the idea that the concept of ‘employment’ should be abandoned altogether.
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- The Idea of Employment
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