In both the public and private sector, workers many now are employed under contract for specified periods such as three months, six months or longer. This may be to assist in operating within budgetary constraints or to give greater flexibility. The term used for this type of non-permanent work is outsourcing.
Contractors may only want to work for short periods. They can also move on to another job if they are dissatisfied.
In most cases employers are not responsible to cover contract workers for such things as:
- Leave payments
- Workers’ compensation
If the employer is unhappy with the contractor, the contract is not renewed. Unfair dismissal charges are less likely to occur.
A side effect of contract work is that once contractors work this way they become very confident and many set up their own businesses.
Hours of work
A few years ago, the more senior the position held, the fewer hours of work were involved. This has been reversed with many senior staff members now working almost double the expected hours. Some organizations compensate employees for the extra time either by a payment or by granting time off in lieu. However, in many cases neither of these rewards is given.
If deadlines have to be met, employees cope with the pressure and accept the long hours as part of their job.
Flexible working hours
Flexitime operates mainly in the public sector although it is also available in some larger private business. In other cases, employees have a flexible working pattern such as a nine-day fortnight.
With Flexitime there are is a core time for attendance. This usually means that all staff should be on duty by 10.00 am and not leave before 3.00 pm (for example). Staff may come in earlier or stay later to build up their hours of attendance over a period specified in the award (generally a monthly period). They then take either one day as flexi-leave or two half days to adjust the extra hours worked.