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Employing Casual Workers

As the furlough scheme draws to a close and we take our next steps towards the new normal, employers are inevitably nervous about the future of their work. This has resulted in many businesses revising their workforce planning initiatives and looking to introduce ‘new ways of doing things’.  

Businesses across a range of industries are now starting to employ a combination of temporary, casual, and seasonal workers, to facilitate demand.  Although, whilst employers recognise the benefits of shifting towards a more flexible and agile workforce, many have been left wondering how exactly they can go about this.  

So, let’s look at the key considerations when employing casual workers. 

Establish the status of your workers – are they self-employed, employed or workers? 

If an individual has agreed to personally complete work for the business, as a minimum, they will be entitled to worker rights. If, however, they are more integrated into the business, their employment protection rights will increase, as they are likely considered an employee.  

A good way to establish this is to test the following areas: mutuality of obligation, positioning within the organisation, supervision and control, and their ability to supply a substitute worker. 

Provide a written statement of terms and conditions 

Regardless of whether individuals are employees or workers, they will be entitled to receive a written statement of their terms and conditions of engagement, on, or before day one of their employment/assignment. This document must detail their pay, hours, holiday pay, sick pay, and benefits. It is also a good idea to include clarification on whether the individual is a worker or an employee.  

Pay your workers through PAYE 

Workers are entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage for work completed. The Company must operate PAYE for all its workers and should note that they may also be entitled to auto-enrolment pension contributions (subject to meeting qualifying criteria). 

If an individual is truly self-employed and provides services through their own limited or personal services, the Company should decide whether IR35 or off payroll rules apply. 

Holiday Pay Entitlements 

In line with the Working Time Regulations, all workers are entitled to 5.6 working weeks paid leave per annum, failure to comply may result in claims for up to 2 years holiday pay. However, those who are truly self-employed are not legally entitled to paid holiday.  

Sick Pay Entitlements 

Workers may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay subject to their annual earnings if they meet the usual qualifying criteria. 

Family leave or related pay 

Workers are not legally entitled to time off for ante-natal appointments, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, or associated family leave pay. Although, employers should be aware that they remain protected from pregnancy and maternity discrimination. 

Discrimination 

Workers do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal however, they still have the same rights as employees in relation to protection from discrimination on the grounds of the usual protected characteristics. Workers are also protected against discrimination because of whistleblowing or acting in situations where their health and safety is in serious and imminent danger. 

Employers Liability 

Employers may be vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of workers as well as employees, so it is imperative for workers to be made aware of Company policies on bullying, harassment and diversity and inclusion. 

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