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Care in a time of austerity: the electronic monitoring of Homecare workers' time

Hayes, Lydia and Moore, Sian 2017. Care in a time of austerity: the electronic monitoring of Homecare workers' time. Gender Work and Organization 24 (4) , pp. 329-344. 10.1111/gwao.12164

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Abstract

Austerity places intense pressures on labour costs in paid care. In the UK, electronic monitoring technology has been introduced to record (and materially reduce) the working time and wages of homecare workers. Based on empirical findings, we show that, in a ‘time of austerity’, care is reductively constructed as a consumption of time. Service users are constructed as needy, greedy, time-consumers and homecare workers as resource-wasting time-takers. We point to austerity as a temporal ideology aimed at persuading populations that individual deprivation in the present moment, self-sacrifice and the suppression of personal need in the here and now is a necessary requirement to underpin a more secure national future. Accordingly, women in low-waged care work are required to eschew a rights-bearing, present-tense identity and are assumed willing to suppress their entitlements to lawful wages as a sacrifice to the future. By transforming our understandings of ‘care’ into those of ‘time consumption’, and by emphasizing the virtue of present-tense deprivation, a politics of austerity appears to justify time-monitoring in care provision and the rationing of homecare workers’ pay.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: austerity; working time; care work; unpaid labour; minimum wage law
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0968-6673
Funders: Leverhulme / British Academy Small Grants Award
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 November 2016
Date of Acceptance: 21 September 2016
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 02:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/95962

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