In recent years, the has been a rise of the ‘casual workforce’ that has caused confusion for businesses that are unclear on the rights of this new type of employee.
Now, as UK legislation sets out what casual workers are entitled to, businesses need to get up to speed quickly to ensure compliance, says UKG, a leading provider of HR, workforce management and HR service delivery.
According to employment law specialists, casual workers can be defined as an individual who is not part of a business’ permanent workforce. Casual workers typically supply services on a flexible or irregular basis, usually to meet varying demand for work.
Liam McNeill, Group Vice President, EMEA at UKG believes that businesses need to get up to speed with the entitlements of casual workers to protect their people while managing their compliance correctly.
McNeill said: “Traditionally, the workforce has always been varied. Organisations of all sizes can be made up of permanent, self-employed, full-time and part-time staff. More recently, we have seen the emergence of the ‘casual worker’ and with it, confusion surrounding the rights of this growing workforce.
“Holiday pay is one of the key focuses in regard to casual worker entitlements. Casual workers are entitled to statutory holiday pay of 5.6 weeks (28 days) annually, as they are employees and do not fall into the self-employed bracket. They are therefore entitled to the same amount of statutory paid holiday as their colleagues who operate on ‘traditional’ contracts.
“The landmark Supreme Court ruling in Uber v Aslam and Others 2021 was a big step forward for casual workers to cement this. The ruling sided with Uber drivers who argued that they were employees, rather than self-employed drivers. This decision proved that although some workers operate irregular working hours, does not mean they are less entitled to the same rights such as holiday pay as those who work traditional working patterns.
“The message this ruling sent out was that any employer, large or small, cannot get away with infringing on the rights of casual workers and those who work irregular patterns.”
HR professionals can avoid creating a two-tiered workforce by ensuring casual workers have the same level of access to HR technology and autonomy as traditional workers.
McNeill added: “HR technology is on-hand to offer the personalisation and autonomy which both casual workers and their employers will benefit from.
“From the perspective of casual workers, having access to HR portals regarding payroll, scheduling and holiday entitlement will provide the transparency they need to mitigate any confusion.
“Shunning casual workers from accessing the necessary HR tech would be detrimental in the long run and will only create confusion and disparity across the workforce. From a business perspective, offering casual workers access to the latest HR tech portals and systems will streamline HR processes across the workforce, rather than a select few.”
McNeill concludes: “When it comes to casual workers, there should no longer be any confusion around their entitlement regarding statutory holiday. The growth of industries such as the gig economy and the increased popularity of zero hour contracts mean we are likely to encounter more casual workers across our workforce.
“Businesses should recognise the long-term benefits of avoiding a two-tiered workforce by offering casual workers seamless HR processes and recognising their right to statutory holiday pay.”