Casual Working

The way modern workplaces now operate has changed a lot over recent years with more flexibility being seen in working hours and a shift away from the good old 9 to 5. A recent YouGov survey found that only 6% of UK workers now work this pattern.

There is also a distinct change to the type of contracts that are being offered outside of ‘full time’ and ‘part time’ and more flexibility in how people are engaged for work, especially now that the right to request flexible working applies to all employees irrespective of whether they are parents or have caring responsibilities.

With that has come a raft of new words being used to refer to those type of workers and we often hear people saying they are looking for ‘casual’ work. Well what does that mean?

Commonly people often automatically assume that ‘casual’ work means ‘cash in hand’ and of the type that doesn’t go through the books i.e there is no trace of employment through a contract or payroll. This has become less common as workers receiving monies in this way need to declare this income to the Inland Revenue and changes have made this harder to avoid for both employer and workers alike.

The type of work we’re talking about here whether using the term ‘casual’, ‘freelance’, ‘zero hours’, ‘as required’ or ‘irregular hours’ all broadly mean the same thing. These workers will only do work occasionally for a business, they don’t have to be offered work nor do they need to accept it. In essence they only work when they want to and this be really beneficial for someone who may be looking for this type of work to fit around their other commitments. It can also benefit the employer who may need flexibility on staff numbers for peaks/troughs for demand of a product/service within the business.

Of course for these sort of arrangements to work effectively, there still needs to be an agreement put in place between both parties to the business’ terms and conditions before being able to offer/receive work, (whatever that may involve), in most cases this agreement is written.

The law now recognises the term 'worker' as well as 'employee, and there are some differences in entitlements between the two. Despite not working regularly, workers have a right to certain employment rights, including:

  • Receiving the national minimum wage

  • Protection against unlawful deductions from wages

  • Statutory minimum levels of paid holiday

  • Statutory minimum length rest breaks

  • To not work more than 48 hours on average per week or opt out if they choose

  • Protection against unlawful discrimination

  • Protection for whistleblowing

  • Not to be treated less favourably for working part time/irregularly

  • May also be entitled to statutory pay for sickness, family leave etc.

Workers also still need to be provided with the materials, tools and equipment to do their work, will still be supervised and/or have someone to report to.

As the modern world changes and businesses continue to adapt to customer needs, they also need to consider adapt to their workforces’ needs, reevaluate how they are asking people to work, what types of contract could work more effectively for them, and how to attract, engage and retain their workforce.

If you missed our June blog relating to zero hours contracts, you can find it here:

Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.

#casualwork #flexibleworking #zerohourscontract #employmentcontract

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