Chapter 15: Trainees - the new army of cheap labour: Lessons from workfare
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Focusing on the UK and US, this chapter traces the rationales and legal arguments that seek to justify the exclusion of trainees from employment status and, consequently, employment rights. The chapter finds strong and important analogies between trainees and workfare participants in this regard. In both cases, participants have been denied employment status and rights on the ideological basis that the schemes facilitate their integration into the labour market and, consequently, they get (from the employer) more than they offer. The empirical foundations to this claim have been repeatedly questioned. More importantly, however, this rationale has been perceived as legally consequential. Both in the US and in the UK, the ‘primary beneficiary’ test has been held to remove the relationship between the parties from one that has ‘work’. The chapter questions and critics these assertions on analytical, normative and legal levels.

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