Casual work: Employees freed or Employers greed?

Zero-hour contracts, the gig economy, and agency work. You may have heard these phrases in the media recently, but what do they mean? Just Recruitment untangles the net.

In July, a government review of good working practice condemned the use of casual working; such as zero-hour contracts or ‘gig’ work.

The ONS recently revealed that the number of people on zero hours contracts in the UK has fallen 2.2% since last year. This has been hailed a step in the right direction for the labour market.  

For some people, casual work yields a wide host of benefits. Could casual work be for you? Read our guide below to find out!


Pros and cons of the different types of casual work

What is the gig economy?

Defined as ‘a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work’, the so-called ‘gig economy’ has recently gained plenty of traction in the UK news.

The gig economy can provide a working environment which offers flexibility for employees who want casual work.

Instead of a regular salary or hourly wage, workers are paid for each ‘gig’ they carry out. These gigs range from simply delivering food, to running errands such as ironing, or collecting weekly shopping.

It is estimated that around five million people in the UK are employed in this way, with 40% of these workers using the work for supplemental income.

Although these jobs provide flexibility, the worker is self-employed in the eyes of the law. Therefore, they are not entitled to employment rights such as holiday entitlement or sick pay.  

What is a zero hours contract?

A worker with a zero-hour contract is classed as an employee of a company. This means they are entitled to employment rights.

However, as the name suggests, the employee is promised no hours. Although the employee is protected by rights, the uncertainty of knowing when you will next be able to work can be debilitating and cause people to abandon their social lives.

A study carried out by UCL found that people with zero hour contracts were one and a half times more likely to report having a mental health problem compared to those with a secure employment contract.

Employees are also allowed to work for other companies, which offers the freedom to pursue other career paths simultaneously. They are also allowed to turn down work when offered.

For those who work for supplementary income and appreciate the benefits employment rights yield, a zero-hour contract is flexible and offers a certain amount of freedom.

What is agency work?

Those seeking temporary work through a recruitment agency are classified as agency workers. This is the preferable way to undertake casual work, as workers are entitled to full employment rights – including equal pay to permanent employees after working on an assignment for 12 weeks.

However, temporary work can be a double-edged sword. Some recruitment agencies will try to avoid the ethical route of employment of casual workers, by using umbrella pay schemes or Swedish Derogation. These schemes can erode employee rights and cause workers to lose earnings.  

Employer branding

It is also important for companies to know the implications of different contracts and agency practices on employees. If workers are treated unethically, or deceived, this will reflect negatively on your brand.

Marks and Spencer found out the hard way, when public protests were launched. This was due to an agency they employed paying their temporary staff less than permanent employees, exploiting the Swedish Derogation loop hole.

At Just Recruitment we treat our temporary employees the same as our permanent staff. They are paid above the National Minimum Wage, offered holiday pay and we have implemented a voluntary benefits scheme, which we are the first agency in the region to offer.

We hope that all other employers and recruitment agencies will follow suit, and begin offering stability, flexibility and fair employment practices to their employees.

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

If you liked this article you may like to read – Commoditisation and how to resist it

You may also like to read – Mental health in the work place for employers and employees

Jobs currently available

New job
QA Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910873
About the role

Our client is seeking an experienced Quality Assurance Manager to join them on a permanent, full-time basis. This opportunity offers stability, longevity and professional development.

Reporting directly to the MD, the Quality Assurance Manager will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and improving the Company's Quality Management System and ensure internal compliance
  • Working with all departments to ensure their procedures are being followed and to improve their internal and cross-functional processes and procedures
  • Ensure that the quality of current and newly introduced products is compliant and traceable
  • Coordinate Quality activities with all over departments
  • Develop and improve quality relationships with all customers of the Company
  • Responsible for all Quality activities and personnel in the Quality Department for the Company
  • Provide strong leadership in the day-to-day operations of the Quality department and mentor the members of the team
  • Establish performance goals for all departmental employees and monitor performance on a continual basis
  • Oversee all hiring, appraisal, training and discipline of Quality personnel
  • Member of the Company's Management team
  • Produce the Quality element of the company's annual Budget
  • Formulate the departmental strategy aligned to the overall Company strategy
  • Embed a Continuous Improvement culture within the Quality Dept and contribute to the Continuous Improvement programme across the site

Requirements:

  • HND or equivalent qualification in Engineering or a related technical field required
  • Minimum 5 years experience in a Manufacturing environment
  • Ability to articulate (verbally and in writing), defend and negotiate Quality expectations with internal and external customers at all levels of management
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to guide and educate/train at all levels
Read more
New job
Customer Service Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910871
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded organisation at the forefront of its sector that is looking to add a Customer Service Administrator to its team, due to growth – based on the outskirts of Halstead.

The main purpose of the role is to service current and prospective customers by receiving and processing orders, enquiries and general information in a timely and courteous manner.

Key tasks include:

  • Answering incoming calls, giving product information, lead times, dealing with general enquiries and queries, redirecting calls to relevant departments
  • Raising and inputting orders and proforma invoices
  • Raising quotations
  • Amending orders, as required
  • Scanning documentation
  • Liaising with Areas Sales Managers and responding to their requests
  • Arranging couriers and/or carriers as required
  • Any general office associated duties

Key requirements for the role:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good eye for detail
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Courteous

Previous experience requirements:

  • Previous Customer Service Administrative experience gained within an office environment
  • Excellent telephone manner with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and experience of in-house systems
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise own workload
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the importance of data protection and adherence to the process

Offering free parking and an excellent working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a growing team.

Working Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week - offering a competitive salary and company benefits.

Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.91 per hour
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 910811
About the role

Want to work in a safe, clean environment?
And have the possibility of ongoing work?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Temporary Production Operative to be based in Needham Market.

Duties include:

  • Ensure all final and completed products are packed to the customer specifications                               
  • Informing Line Leaders of defects found in the products
  • Keep machines supplied with packing materials and labels
  • Assist the Line Leaders with handovers and changeovers
  • Responsible for general cleanliness of the production area and removal of production and general waste
  • Check products on the line for quality and defects
  • Basic production duties carried out in a fast-paced environment

Working hours:

8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Read more
New job
Logistics Coordinator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £24,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910869
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a well-regarded, family-run business on the outskirts of Ipswich.

You will be responsible for assisting with the loads out operation of the business by ensuring that the process from collection to arrival at the final destination is fully supported by the relevant goods in haulage documentation.

You will also be supporting the sales function of the business by dealing with customer queries in terms of both sales and operations as well as assisting with various ad-hoc marketing campaigns. This is a very varied role and requires flexibility, commitment and a substantial desire to learn and grow with the flourishing business.

Duties will include:

  • Process orders and oversees the order to completion of paperwork
  • Facilitate the shipping of products from one destination to another
  • Arrange transportation with outside hauliers
  • Receive paperwork from the Weighbridge department and check and complete the paperwork within the allocated time allowed
  • Answer calls and emails relating to customer queries and log them on the CRM system and resolve any outstanding issues raised
  • Keep CRM records up-to-date
  • Work with the sales and operations team to ensure that high customer service levels are achieved and delivered to all customers you are responsible for at all times

Skills required:

  • Good Microsoft skills including Word, Outlook & Excel
  • Ability to work proactively on an independent basis as well as be a good team player
  • You will have the interpersonal skills necessary to develop and sustain effective relationships with team members of other departments and with all customers
  • Good attention to detail and analytical skills
Read more
New job
Legal Secretary (Part-Time)
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: Up to £11.00 per hour
Location: Witham
Role: Part Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910868
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting an established business, based in Witham looking to add a highly-skilled secretary to their long-standing team.

The role will involve, audio typing, preparing documents, answering the phone, dealing with enquiries and assisting colleagues as well as directing queries as needed.

Key responsibilities to include:

  • Audio typing – dictation
  • Preparing letters and drafting documents
  • Handling diaries and booking appointments
  • Answering the phone and dealing with queries
  • General secretarial and office-based duties

As well as having experience in a secretarial position, you will have audio typing experience and excellent typing skills. The role requires you to have a good level of IT literacy, experience of Word (essential) and Excel would be useful. You will take pride in your work and have a caring and sympathetic nature.

Please note this role is part-time.

This is a great opportunity, offering a good pay rate and company benefits.

Read more