Casual workers are a unique kind of worker that a business might take on to provide work or services. The term is often used interchangeably with zero hour workers but there is no clear definition of what is meant by a zero hour contract. In this article we will explain what a casual worker agreement is, when a business might require one, the key terms of casual worker agreements and the best way to create one online.
What is a casual worker agreement?
A casual worker agreement is a special type of agreement used to take on individuals who are not part of a business' permanent workforce. Casual workers are typically used when a business has variable demands for staff, for example based on customer volume or seasonal demand. For example, restaurant workers or delivery drivers might be under a casual worker agreement.
How does it differ from a contract of employment?
Whilst there is no legal definition of a casual worker, they have a different employment status from employees of a company and therefore different ‘employment rights’. Significantly, unlike an employment relationship, there is no mutuality of obligation between the business or the worker. This means that the business is under no obligation to offer work to the worker and generally speaking the worker is under no obligation to accept the business’ offer to work at any given point.
As aforementioned, casual workers have different statutory and contractual rights to employees. Typically, casual worker agreements will not include:
- Rights and details of a pension plan
- Grievance and disciplinary clauses
- Sickness, maternity, paternity or bereavement pay
- Collective agreement clauses
Casual workers are still entitled to statutory annual leave (holiday entitlement or holiday pay) and the national minimum wage.
What are the key terms of a casual worker agreement?
Under a casual worker agreement, the individual is neither employed as a part time or full time permanent employee or self-employed but considered a worker.
Place of work
When entering into a casual worker agreement you will need to outline the start date of the agreement and the place of work. You can state whether the worker will work in a specific location or multiple locations, such as in the case of delivery drivers.
Hours of work
As well as outlining the place of work, you also need to outline the working hours expected when a shift is accepted. You should make the working arrangements, such as working times, as clear as possible in your agreement.
Mutuality of Obligation
As mentioned above, a core element of a casual worker agreement is the absence of a mutuality of obligation. This means that there is no set number of hours in which casual work must be undertaken and workers can choose or dismiss offers of work on an ad hoc basis. The absence of this obligation is what distinguishes the casual contract from employment contracts and what diminishes the casual workers eligibility for certain rights under employment law.
It is also important that you include a probationary period in your agreement so that if the worker is not the right fit for your business you can terminate the arrangement. This is important to ensure that you have flexibility and to reduce the chances of you being accused of unfair dismissal which could be taken to an employment tribunal.
You will also need to outline the relevant notice periods under the arrangement. For example, you will need to outline how much notice must be given to accept or decline a shift and the notice each party must give to terminate the agreement.
In addition to hours of work, you should also state the worker’s pay package, outlining, for example, the hourly rate, and how and when payment will be made.
You should also outline any benefits or training that your casual worker might receive. For example, on enrolment or on their first day you might require the worker to undertake specialist training or you might offer company perks, such as a pension scheme. If you do provide any benefits you should outline these as a written statement in your casual worker employment.
In your casual worker agreement you will also want to make your sick policy clear, for example whether your company will pay sick leave or whether the worker will be paid statutory sick pay (SSP) for eligible absence from work.
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The best way to create your Casual Worker Agreement online
Legislate helps you create a lawyer-approved casual worker agreement online in minutes and on no legal budget. To get started, complete the following steps:
- Sign up to Legislate
- Click on create a contract
- Select casual worker agreement from the list of available contracts
- Answer simple questions about the agreement such as its purpose and term so that you have sufficient protection
- Pay £9.95 to preview the contract and invite parties for signature.
What else can you do with Legislate?
Legislate is an easy-to-use contract management platform which offers standardised legal documents which you can tailor on your own by answering simple questions. Legislate's contracts also have up-to-date boiler plate clauses such as governing law, disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Legislate allows you to streamline your contracts whilst offering a professional experience.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.