Non-waivability in Labour Law

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 40 (3):482-507 (2020)

Abstract

Non-waivability is considered a basic principle of labour law. In most cases, it is needed to protect employees against coerced waivers. But what if an employee genuinely wants to waive some labour right, for example in return for a higher salary? This article explains why non-waivability is generally justified even against the wishes of employees, for reasons of paternalism, harm to others and second-order justifications. At the same time, in some cases, there is room for intermediate solutions, which can be used to better respect the autonomy of employees and achieve additional benefits without undermining the goals of labour laws. The article employs this analysis to examine two concrete issues by way of example: waiving of ‘employee’ status and the individual opt-out from maximum weekly hours. In the latter context, while I critique the current law, I argue that some form of conditional waiver could be acceptable.

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References found in this work

Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy.John Christman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Legal Paternalism.Joel Feinberg - 1971 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):105 - 124.
Avoiding Paternalism.Peter de Marneffe - 2006 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):68-94.

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