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Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law$
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Elizabeth Brake and Lucinda Ferguson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786429.001.0001

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Paid and Unpaid Care

Paid and Unpaid Care

Marriage, Equality, and Domestic Workers

(p.75) 3 Paid and Unpaid Care
Philosophical Foundations of Children's and Family Law

Elizabeth Brake

Oxford University Press

This paper argues that relationships between paid caregivers and care recipients should be eligible for equivalent legal protections as other adult-caring relationships. Care workers (or intimate workers, or domestic workers) are a vulnerable group; in law, they are not fully protected as workers or as family members, although they often form close, reciprocal-caring relationships with the people they care for. While some legal theorists have recently addressed their rights as workers, this paper considers their eligibility for rights as family members. It extends my earlier arguments for marriage equality, that marriage law (or a marriage-like law with reduced legal entitlements which I call ‘minimal marriage’) should protect a wider variety of relationship types than law currently does, on grounds of equal treatment. After reviewing these earlier arguments, I make the case for their application to care workers, addressing both theoretical and practical objections.

Keywords:   domestic workers, paid caregivers, caring relationships, marriage equality, care ethics, liberal neutrality, relationship rights, intimate workers, paid companions, minimal marriage

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