Casual workers can be a bonus to organisations that have to meet peaks workflow from time to time. Often taken on a Christmas or busy periods casual workers are used extensively in many industries. Whilst they contribute to a flexible workforce there are key things to bear in mind in terms of their employment.
1. Ensure you issue a written agreement (contract of service) that reflects the nature of the casual work offered this is known as a zero hours contract (also casual hours contract or sessional contract). Also ensure that you only intend to employ the worker on a casual basis ie not offering regular hours on set days at set times. These contracts are operated on mutual no obligation basis therefore there is no obligation for an employer to provide work and there is no obligation for the worker to accept it.
2. Be aware that truly casual workers have mimimal employment rights over and above the provision of holiday pay calculated at 5.6 weeks per annum pro rata. This can be calculated on a quarterly basis by recording hours worked and a pro rata sum provided accordingly. Alternatively if more regular payments of holiday pay are required, they can be provided on a rolled up basis provided this is clearly declared on the contract and in the wageslip.
3. Casual workers should receive the national minimum wage and may be paid SSP provided they meet eligible criteria. They have the right to be protected from unlawful deduction of wages and discrimination. They have protection from whistleblowing and with health and safety.
4. Be aware that workers that are used on a regular basis may be able to claim further employment rights in an employment tribunal. It is best therefore to retain a bank of casual workers and rotate their use so that the same worker is not offered work on a continous basis. Assignments or pieces of work should not be too lengthy. Furthermore, there should be sufficient gap between assignments – at least more than a week.