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As an employer, you can bring on casual employees to plug gaps in your business. They can fill in during unpredictable periods of work or when you urgently need additional workers on board. It is a flexible arrangement for both employees and employers, which can be a positive for your business. Importantly, you must remember that these employees are transient, and you cannot require them to do particular work at a particular time. Hiring only casual employees means your business can lack reliable and long-term staff. This article will cover some of the pros and cons of hiring casual employees in your New Zealand business. 

The Pros: Flexible Workforce for Unpredictable Periods of Work

Casual employees excel at filling gaps in your business on short notice and managing unexpected or unplanned surges in work. You may run a retail business or another type of business with a heavy emphasis on customer-facing sales. In this case, it is essential to ensure you have enough employees to manage business operations and demand surges. Such surges can occur for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • a sale; 
  • an unplanned event; 
  • peak buying periods, like Christmas, or
  • a new product launch. 

In such circumstances, you may not have time to start an entire recruitment process to hire a new permanent staff member. Therefore, hiring such employees is an appealing alternative. 

Additionally, it is also difficult to predict future workflow and whether the surges of demand will happen again. If they do not, an additional permanent employee may be an unnecessary extra overhead cost. In this way, casual employees can help you manage your workflow needs while keeping costs manageable.

The Cons: Lack of Teambuilding and Consistency

On the other hand, it is not always more cost-effective to use casual employees. Casual employment offers little certainty or protection for employees. Consequently, there is a risk that casual staff often move on and seek permanent or fixed employment with another business if you are only offering work on a casual basis. The result for your business is difficulty finding skilled employees and retaining good staff. Likewise, you may need to offer permanent employment to do so. 

If your business experiences a high staff turnover, you also risk greater costs in bringing new casual employees up to speed with your business, its practices and policies. 

There are other issues with having several casual employees. It can be hard to build a team or culture with transient employees, as these employees typically are. Since employees on this arrangement may not stick around for very long, it is hard to build good relationships between employees. It is also challenging to build institutional knowledge that many businesses value and cultivate through their staff management.

Key Takeaways

Employing casual employees can be a great option for situations your business may encounter, such as when there is irregular work or when you urgently need to fill a particular gap for a specific period. This employment option is flexible and can help keep your business’ costs down when used correctly. However, it is not always easy to build a team with casual employees, and they are, by definition, difficult to retain for an extended period. Most employees will want the security offered by permanent employment and so would prefer that arrangement. They may eventually leave your business to obtain it. If you want to know more casual employees and how to get the most out of a flexible workforce, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the legal definition of ‘casual’ as a casual employee?

There is no formal legal definition of ‘casual employee’. However, it refers to a type of employment where an employee works ad-hoc for a business, without any regular work or shifts. They have no guarantee of work and can turn offers of work down whenever they like. Neither employee nor employer has to commit to the ongoing relationship or offers of work.

Do casual employees receive the same employment rights as other employees?

Yes, for the most part. Casual employees are still employees and so still receive basic rights and responsibilities. However, it can be trickier to work out annual leave and sick leave for these employees, as entitlements depend on their hours worked. You should check with an employment lawyer to ensure you manage those obligations correctly.

Why is it harder to build a team with casual employees compared to permanent employees?

Since casual employment is primarily transient, employees tend to come and go when they are employed on that basis. It can be hard to build a team or culture in your workforce with little regular interaction between employees over a sustained period.

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