Choosy Suzy

  • LJB Hayes
Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


This book set out to use the words of homecare workers as a tool with which to illuminate their working lives and understand how labour law intertwines with the ateriality of paid caregiving. Each chapter has identified ways in which the labour market participation of paid caregivers is widely judged as inferior. The discussion has located assumptions of sex and class in homecare workers’ experience and connected these to inquiries about legal form and function. I have argued that the UK’s crisis in social care is co-implicated with the gendered injustice of inadequate labour law. A politics of social care, or indeed the social politics of care, is enmeshed with a politics of class and gender. State provision of social care will continue to be marked by chronic underfunding and antipathy while the craft of paid caregiving is subject to degradations of sexism and class bias. In my concluding comments, I return to consider the institutionalised humiliation of homecare workers as a process which underpins many of the failings of social care and is expressed through law and legal doctrine at work. I believe that transformative change to law at work is urgently required. An appropriate campaign for legal reform would confront the sexist history of labour law, recognise the sexist inclinations of contemporary employment rights and acknowledge that working-class women are still waiting for law at work to extend to them its promise of privilege and protection. To be truly transformative, legal change would signal that paid care work is worthy of full protection in law and enable paid caregivers to be economically valued, legally entitled and afforded the respect of full legal and political recognition for their occupational contribution to the health of our economy, communities and family structures, as well as for their support of individuals with personal care needs.


Local Authority Minimum Wage Social Care Disable People Care Recipient 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • LJB Hayes
    • 1
  1. 1.Law and Society Research Fellowship, Cardiff Law SchoolCardiff UniversityCardiffUnited Kingdom

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