Law academic's book shortlisted for Early Career Prize

24 January 2018

Social care crisis

Dr Lydia Hayes’ book Stories of Care: A Labour of Law has been shortlisted for the Hart SLSA Early Career Prize.

The book offers an innovative and timely insight into the day-to-day sexist attitudes and class-bias that homecare workers encounter in their working lives. Dr Hayes’ purpose was to explore how and why employment rights are often ineffectual in forms of employment which are typically undertaken by working-class women. Her monograph provides the first in-depth ethnographic study of homecare workers in the UK and places employment law at the heart of her analysis of care workers’ lived experience.

Stories of Care is based on empirical and doctrinal research carried out by Dr Hayes while she was funded by the Journal of Law and Society fellowship award at the School of Law and Politics.

Framing the UK’s twenty-first century crisis of social care in the context of a longstanding, gendered crisis in the regulation of work, Dr Hayes argues that there are few better examples of the extent to which the state disrespects working-class women than the fact that homecare jobs offer among the worst of wages and working conditions.

The central message of the book is an appeal for labour standards to be more widely understood as fundamental to the future of social care. The work sheds light on what Dr Hayes refers to as the 'institutionalised humiliation' of the homecare workforce to show how the intellectual reasoning and values expressed in employment law serve to justify poor treatment, low pay and insecurity.