This article explores the introduction of the 2014 Protected Disclosures Act in the Republic of Ireland. It does so by using a justice theory lens to examine the potential for the Act to protect workers who may feel the need to blow the whistle on employer wrongdoings. Data is collected from public records and documents, along with interviews with senior representatives from ‘all’ the social partner agents involved in drafting or contributing to the Act. The evidence suggests that the Act may have limited utility in ensuring fairness and justice for the whistle-blower. In particular, employers appear reluctant to embrace the idea of more legal protections, while cultural stigmas attached to the idea of ‘blowing the whistle’ may inhibit people coming forward. The article contributes to justice theory and employment regulation, as well as whistle-blowing practices, and some recommendations are suggested to improve awareness of whistle-blowing rights for workers.
Conventionally, cross-national variations in employment relations systems have been compared by analysing the different characters of their formal economies (e.g., whether they are control, market or mixed economies). Recognising the persistence and even growth of informal employment, this paper examines the cross-national variations in the degree of informalisation of employment relations and then evaluates critically whether such variations are associated with: under-development (modernisation theory); high taxes, corruption and state interference (neo-liberal theory), or inadequate state intervention to protect workers from poverty (political economy theory). Reporting International Labour Organisation surveys of informal employment in 41 developing economies, the finding is that the share of the non-agricultural workforce in informal employment ranges from 83.6 per cent in India to 6.1 per cent in Serbia. Evaluating critically how these cross-national variations can be explained, support is found for the modernisation and political economy theses that associates greater informalisation with under-development and inadequate state protection of workers from poverty and the neo-liberal corruption thesis. No evidence is found that greater informalisation is associated with the neo-liberal theses of higher taxes and more state interference. The theoretical and policy implications are then discussed.