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Ask the Expert… Casual Working Rights

Zoe 26 June 2013




Amy Paxton, senior employment consultant,


Q: If a worker has been on the books for a number of years, but only ever used on an ad hoc basis, do we have to involve him or her in a redundancy consultation process?

Ms Paxton says: A genuinely casual worker with no set hours, no obligation to undertake work offered, and no obligation to be offered the work, is not entitled to be party to redundancy consultation procedures. Only those employed by you under a contract of employment and with employment status have the right to be involved in a fair process prior to termination of that employment.

For truly casual workers, you simply inform those individuals that they will no longer be called upon or given details of work from a given date. You should ensure that they are paid any outstanding payments for wages, after which you can remove them from the payroll.

Workers also have certain other rights, including the right to 28 days’ paid annual leave per year and rights under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether someone is a worker or an employee. An employee is someone who is employed under a contract of employment and the minimum requirements of mutuality of obligation and control exist. The employee agrees to carry out work for the employer in return for an agreed wage or salary. The employer, in turn, controls how the work is carried out.

If casual workers are used on a regular basis, there is a risk that they can be classed as an employee and therefore they entitled to more employment rights, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed and the right to receive Statutory Redundancy Pay.

If you have regular need for casual labour it is advisable to:


  • maintain a list of individuals who are prepared to take on casual work
  • offer jobs on a rotating basis
  • avoid approaching the same workers repeatedly.