Many digital platforms are happy to advertise their innovations and create
models for the future. When the economy comes, we need to look at the
evolution of traditional service work and its impact on the present from a
historical perspective. In addition to creating new freedoms, the
performance economy created a different kind of labor control. This tweet,
based on the theory of Frances Flanagan, will be published in the journal
of industrial relations, performing economic and family service work. This
paper compares the traditional household service in Australia in the 19th
and 20th centuries with that in the 21st century, and points out that under
the digital platform, the modern household service has changed from the
dual dominant mode to the structural dominant mode. Mediation platforms
used to play a small role, but now they play a key role. The short-termism
and substitutability of the performers are the main features of the
performers’ economic model, but they are not conducive to providing high-
quality services to the family workers.
In recent years, digital platform
executives have discussed many topics about the future. They tout their
innovations to create a future work model that gives people more freedom.
But legal and industrial relations scholars were quick to debunk these
falsehoods. Academics see the factory economy that has flourished over the
past 40 years in the form of temporary employment, supply chain employment,
employment and independent contracting as an extreme example of
instability. Due to the different concepts of performance economy, standard
employment relationship has always been a focus of these analyses.
Conceptualize performance economics
Much of the literature on performance
economics compares performance to standard employment. As many academics
have observed, working conditions for digital workers are worse than for
the average worker. As independent contractors, digital platform employees
have no minimum wage, no sick and annual leave, no pension, need to use
their own tools, pay their own taxes and arrange their own business, and
are always on call.
This article discussed economy economy from the Angle of
family service job. There are three main reasons. First, Australia has a
large number of family-service jobs, which will continue to exist in the
future. Second, the family interpersonal service work highlighted the odd
jobs application platform limitations, because the quality of nursing work
stress 3 c, namely care (care, mainly in pathological care), focus, focus,
trust it and maintain close relationship), connect (connection, through
emotional ties, in economic transactions in the same way). So it poses a
huge challenge to the legitimacy of the frosty digital platform. Third,
Australia’s family service history has had a lasting impact on this
development-based care. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, family
workers worked under contractual arrangements without any statutory working
hours, wage or rest time provisions, or institutional support for
collective workers’ organizations. These are still core functions of the
modern digital platform model.
Figure 1 Care.com official website
This chapter adopts the method of
historical analysis. The authors compare business platforms (primarily
newspaper advertising and labor registries) that link home service work in
the 19th and 20th centuries to digital home service platforms in the 21st
century. They include UberCare or Better Caring, which focuses on Caring
for the elderly; Mynder and find-a-babysitter, focusing on nannies and
babysitters; Care.com is an American company in more than 20 countries
offering a variety of home and care services, including child care,
eldercare, pet care, cleaning, garden management and housekeeping.
Highlight family and employee matches on each platform through targeted
presentation of information and/or location technology; These platforms
emphasize that the employees on the platform are independent business
contractors, not employees, so there is no need to give incentives or
subsidies. These platforms provide customer evaluations of employees and do
not provide any dispute resolution mechanisms. Users cannot negotiate these
terms of service and can only accept or reject them. Employees working on
these platforms have some occupational health and safety protections, but
are not allowed to organize group events or file group appeals.
work: from local network to global network
In colonial Australia, the match
between family and domestic worker was not easy. Employment is often highly
dispersed in cities and remote villages. The matching work was carried out
by the government, which set out policies to care for migrants and
recruited female domestic workers from Britain (before the second world
war) and even southern and central Europe (in the 1950s) through a scheme.
In the business world, two types of organizations have become platforms for
connecting workers and employers: newspapers and maid registries run by
Newspapers are the most common way to find family help.
In 1981, for example, 39,000 household workers were working in Victoria,
and time magazine ran 100,000 ads. Advertisers are employers. They pay for
advertisements for domestic workers. Interviews are usually conducted at
the employer’s residence, and newspapers do not interfere with the
The difference is that the service not only collects
information about potential employers and employees, but also selects and
recommends candidates based on some “good character” criteria. In the late
20th century, it also carried out police and reference checks. Both
employers and employees pay, and both complain about the registration fees.
Australia has yet to sign the 1933 international Labour organisation (ilo)
convention on unpaid employment services. The Labour registry does not just
match employers and employees. They also affect the terms of contracts.
They will provide guidance to both parties on the form and content of the
Modern digital platforms, such as the Labour
registry, also make money by charging families and staff. Fees are based on
contract terms, subscription services or both. Digital platforms also
affect contracts. Like previous employees, modern platforms want to create
a huge network effect and boast about the size of their user base.
to better match both parties, these digital platforms encourage job seekers
to provide users with comprehensive information about their hobbies,
interests, autobiography and other aspects through video, information,
photos and other forms. This comprehensive information enables the platform
to extract, store and analyze this data. Access to this data helps match
employees and families. Care.com, for example, operates in a data ecosystem
that includes third-party search engines, email providers, geolocation
providers, and classified AD providers like Google.
Figure 2. Google home service advertising
The role of digital platforms as
aggregators and disseminators of user data must be understood within the
corporate structure of these platforms. These corporate structures enable
them to pursue a “profit growth” strategy through which digital platforms
can collect data over the long term and secure business investment. Venture
capital allows these platforms to offer deep discounts to achieve a
Ideology of family service work: private sector, incomplete
specialization and entrepreneurship
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the
prevailing idea of family service management was “the private sphere”.
According to this view, the family is a paradise that emphasizes moral and
social protection. The family is non-industrial, in which women do care
about spiritual, emotional and moral returns rather than monetary ones.
describing family-service jobs as situations rather than jobs, Labour
registries and newspapers implicitly emphasise that this view of the family
is a world apart from the public sphere. Domestic helpers and households
should emphasize personal characteristics rather than reference conditions,
experience or qualifications. These organizations recommend employees on
the basis of ethics, as well as the qualities of prudence, prudence and
humility. There was also racial discrimination in the selection process.
These intermediaries also have little role in facilitating mutual mediation
when conflicts occur. In the early 20th century, labor arbitration laws
excluded family services. In 1923, the House Service Company was
established by the feminist and socialist activist Jesse street. Its clear
goal was to improve the status of domestic workers and ensure that they
could obtain the minimum wage, training, insurance and travel expenses. At
its peak in 1929, the company employed 100 trainers and 300 servants. Calls
by family workers’ unions and international Labour organizations for
changes in Labour laws were rejected because family services were by their
nature non-industrial. Although the Supreme Court gave a broader legal
interpretation of labor arbitration in 1983, domestic servants were
apparently still excluded from the definition of an employee in western
Compared with the 19th century and the first half of the 20th
century, the concept of family service work is much questioned today. There
are two competing and opposing paradigms for understanding family work,
particularly personal care services. The first approach sees nursing as a
semi-professional social service, part of a tripartite relationship between
caregivers, the state and caregivers, and a collective obligation to
provide services to vulnerable groups. The second sees care as a business
activity that should be well organised through markets and competition,
with the state acting only as a modest provider of financial services.
Working hours, discipline and supervision
Supervision and discipline are a
heavy burden on domestic helpers. Employers tend to be suspicious and
distrustful, viewing domestic workers as potential thieves, saboteurs and
threats to the family’s reputation and moral image. Supervision and
discipline are usually carried out in private Spaces through direct
observation or discussion of the work of domestic helpers.
Most home workers
work long workdays. Hosts can achieve this through a series of physical and
symbolic tools or boundaries, including telephone calls, salutations,
dressing, maid room and dining area arrangements, and social rituals and
practices such as renaming maids. These practices increase the compliance
of domestic servants, enabling them to avoid seeing their masters when they
do not want to, and to ensure that they comply when needed.
control and discipline strategy is implemented under Australia’s master and
servant laws. The law is unilateral and asymmetrically regulates the rights
and duties of masters and servants. In the absence of a domestic helpers’
association and friendly laws, the threat of separation is the main tool
used by domestic helpers. The turnover rate for household workers is much
higher than estimated. As the employer is not aware of the previous
employment situation of the domestic helper and the domestic helper has no
career promotion system, the reputation of the domestic helper has no
impact on the future career development.
Figure. Employer evaluation page for plumbers
Modern domestic workers face
different pressures in terms of working hours, discipline and supervision
than their predecessors. Gig workers can work for multiple employers at the
same time, working hours are more spread out, the lines between work and
non-work hours are blurred and travel time between work sites is unpaid.
The independent contractors act of 2006 (federal) now requires only fair
contracts between owners and servants. In addition, face-to-face control
technology is no longer the main feature of family-based gig home worker
services. With scores, ratings and customer reviews posted online, workers
are more susceptible to labor disputes.
Discussion and conclusion
historical comparison between modern and traditional domestic helper
services, we see a paradigm shift in which the dominant control mechanism
of workers has shifted from “dualistic” domination to structural
domination. Historically, domestic servants worked in binary conditions and
had to submit to their masters. Contemporary digital platform workers live
in a structure-led system, in which the market provides the main means of
employee discipline, and the rules of the game are set by private law and
embedded in the terms of the platform. Unlike traditional family workers,
these workers can leave their employers at any time, but the right to leave
is not the same as true freedom.
In this transition, there is another
dimension of space. Previously, owners could adopt strategies to monitor
and control household workers, but these strategies are now available
through platform terms. In the process of implementing the advantages of
digital platform structure, employee evaluation and rating are crucial.
However, the collection and dissemination of such information is often
unilateral. Most platforms provide only owners’ assessments of domestic
workers and do not give employees the opportunity to refute negative
comments or elaborate on their abuse, discrimination, unsafe working
conditions, unreasonable demands or debt defaults.
is very important for the operation of the discipline system. Most
platforms emphasize the right of an employer to terminate a contract at any
time as a feature of the platform, and “persistence” encourages employees
to provide quality services. Employee substitutability is the same, as well
as the differences between past and present domestic worker services. In
the past, domestic service emphasized modesty. Now, performance
housekeeping, which relies on quick turnover and turnover, has no long-term
career trajectory. The performance economy is “timeless”; It does not
require the hiring of workers based on past work and experience, nor does
it require any commitment to workers’ future work, nor does it increase
compensation for workers’ experience and skills.
In conclusion, this paper
argues that the performance platform has created a new “life cycle” career
in Australian society. It is only suitable for young people who have no
family burden; For employees, the only solution is to “quit” rather than
“talk”. A mistake or misunderstanding can damage your reputation for a
lifetime of work.
This analysis has three implications. One is that these
platforms must be democratically regulated, recognizing that these digital
platforms are actually supporters and tools of the commoditization of
labor. Second, support and encourage trade unions to expand their
operations so that they have bargaining power on behalf of workers under
this structure. Finally, governments must spend more to create secure
services. These jobs should be truly flexible, offering more options to
those in need, and ensuring employees have more time and support to deliver