The Increasing Importance of Non-Standard Employment Relations: A Biblical Evaluation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Zadok Papers, 2018, (231), pp. 2 - 7 (6)
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A long-standing indicator of the health of an economic system, and an important focus of government policy, has been the proportion of a country's workforce that cannot find paid employment. A high rate of unemployment has been taken by economists to imply either that economic activity is not growing quickly enough or that labour markets are not functioning as they should. But a more recent and growing concern has been that employment itself is becoming less secure for an increasing proportion of the workforce. Non-standard forms of employment such as work on casual contracts, dubbed by some as precarious work, is argued to represent an unreasonable deterioration in working conditions since it carries with it fewer non-wage benefits and a lack of certainty about future work availability. This paper reflects on the nature and possible causes of this trend, and offers a brief evaluation of it from a biblical perspective. The paper concludes that, while the precise causes of the trend are important, it is not, in general, an acceptable development from the perspective of Old Testament and New Testament ethics, and thus warrants a response by thoughtful Christians involved in business and government.
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