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Care in a Time of Austerity: the Electronic Monitoring of Homecare Workers’ Time

Hayes, L.J.B., Moore, Sian (2016) Care in a Time of Austerity: the Electronic Monitoring of Homecare Workers’ Time. Gender, Work & Organisation, 24 (4). pp. 329-344. ISSN 0968-6673. E-ISSN 1468-0432. (doi:10.1111/gwao.12164) (KAR id:75156)

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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
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/gwao.12164
Uncontrolled keywords: austerity, working time, care work, unpaid labour, minimum wage law
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Lydia Hayes
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 14:22 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hayes, L.J.B.:
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