Fergal Dowling, of employment law specialists Irwin Mitchell, outlines the rights of casual staff, how to hire them and the rules and regulations you need to follow. Many clubs rely on casual staff to cover seasonal fluctuations in demand for their services, staff sickness or holidays. Casual workers may only work for you for a short period of time, or on an occasional basis, but they have important legal rights. This guide will help you to understand the rights available to casual staff and to make an informed decision about how to engage them. Employment law recognises three categories of person: employee, worker, and those who are self-employed. The status of an individual is important because employees and workers have employment rights (although workers have fewer rights than employees) that are not available to those who are genuinely self-employed. Workers have the following rights: To receive: the national minimum wage, paid holiday, rest breaks, be protected against unlawful discrimination and not to have deductions taken unlawfully from their wages. "Most casual staff can be properly taken on as workers if you anticipate that your requirements for them will be irregular" Employees have the following additional rights: Not to be unfairly dismissed, to receive a minimum amount of notice to terminate the contract, to receive a redundancy payment if they are made redundant and to take time off for family leave (such as maternity, paternity, adoption and so on). The right to claim unfair dismissal and receive a redundancy payment are dependent on the employee having worked for a continuous period of at least two years for the same employer. Will all of our casual staff be considered to be workers? Not necessarily. A casual worker can work under a number of different types of contracts including: a zero hours contract, a contract for a specified period of time or a general contract of employment. Many employers assume that casual staff will be workers rather than employees. Whilst that may be the initial intention of both parties, it will depend on their actual relationship, which can change over time. It is not enough, therefore, to simply describe your casual worker as a “worker”. You must also ensure that you treat them in a manner that is consistent with this. For example, if you are dissatisfied with the timekeeping, or performance, of a casual worker you do not need to go through the disciplinary process you follow for your employees or issue a series of warnings before dismissing them. Instead, you can warn the worker that you expect them to improve and, if they don’t, you can dispense with their services (or just get rid of them). "A casual worker can work under a number of different types of contracts" What is the best way to engage a casual worker? It is important to get the right contract in place. Most casual staff can be properly taken on as workers if you anticipate that your requirements for them will be irregular or relatively informal. You should not issue...
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