Casual contracts – What you can expect from an employer

Casual contracts for employers to consider

There will be some employers who will be thinking taking on staff on an informal contracts basis to cover on a temporary basis over the summer holiday and Christmas periods.

Here are many issues employers will need to think about when taking on people on a temporary basis.

The employment status of the worker will need to be clarified and carefully considered. The term ‘casual worker’ is not precisely defined in law.

It is often used to refer to individuals who are engaged on an ‘as and when required’free contract, and usually, the intention is that the individual will not have employment status and all the legal rights which permanent employees are entitled to receive.

So between an employee and someone who is self-employed. And, while workers do not enjoy all the rights of employees, they possess a set of basic ones.

National Minimum Wage Act

Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations.

Although the term ‘casual employee’ suggests an informal relationship between two parties.The law in this area is complicated, and employers need to be aware that a casual worker can be an employee with all the full legal rights.

The law in this area is complicated, and businesses need to be mindful of the fact that a casual worker can be an employee with all the full legal rights.

This entails protection against unfair dismissal, entitlement to statutory redundancy payments. Written particulars of employment, a broad range of ‘family-friendly’ rights, which must be made known to the potential employee.

Written particulars of employment, a broad range of ‘family-friendly’ rights, which must be made known to the prospective employee.

Employment Tribunals

The Tribunals are well aware that employers often try to avoid the existence of these critical elements and so contract terms (written or verbal) are only the starting point.

A wholes range of facts and circumstances will need to be considered, to determine the exact employment status of a worker, whether it be written or verbal.In reality, many workers will, in fact, be casual workers, not employees, but they would still have critical statutory rights, for example:

  • Paid annual leave
  • National minimum wage
  • Salary protection from deduction
  • Discrimination

Informal contracts for workers can establish employment status. If an employee is engaged in a series of individual contracts, with breaks in between, such as sessional contracts, zero hours contracts. It is, therefore, essential that working arrangements be reviewed on a regular basis.

It is, therefore, essential that working arrangements be reviewed on a regular basis.

Change of employment status

The employment situation of a casual worker can evolve over time, as the working relationship changes depending on the business needs.

The longer the working relationship, the higher the scope of contract terms to no more extended, reflect the reality of the work required and situation. That is why these should be monitored and updated.

The entitlement of casual workers to be paid annual leave should also be monitored very carefully.

Many misunderstandings and disputes around paid, annual leave entitlements and rights, are a familiar source of disputes between employers and casual workers.

It is important to remember, in addition to the above, that casual workers will always have valuable legal rights, irrespective of their employment status.

Although unfair dismissal protection only applies to employees. The status of casual workers may not be entirely clear. Moreover, with discrimination protection using in any event, employers should always take care of termination situations.

HMRC provide a useful Employment Status Indicator.Which employers can check to see the status of individuals. Alternatively, groups of workers to see how they should be treated regarding tax and NIC payments.

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