What is a Casual Employee

Casual employees are people who are hired to work for a short period of time, paid hourly wages, and do not enjoy compensation and benefits accorded to regular employees. This is not to be mistaken for those who work part-time at grocery chains, cafes, malls, bookstores, and schools because that is an entirely different arrangement (think subs and interns). Casual employment may be defined differently from country to country. However in the United States, casual employment is widely-known as a temporary worker (temp or filler) or an independent contractor or consultant.

What's the difference between a casual employee, a temporary employee, and an independent contractor or consultant?

  • Casual employee - Anyone who works less than 1000 hours over a 12 month period and is on call when needed only. A casual employee is not on the roster of regulars and is therefore ineligible for benefits like bonuses, incentives, medical and dental coverage, retirement options, or stock options in cases where the company is publicly listed in NASDAQ or NYSE. Example of casual jobs are musical sessionistas, nannies, fruit pickers, carpenters, catering crew, and other casual jobs that depend on peak season manpower support as in the case of vacation hotels and resorts.
  • Temporary employee - Anyone who is employed at a temping agency that supplies manpower complement to other companies. Secretarial work is one very obvious example of a temporary employee. A temporary employee must also not exceed 1000 hours in a 12 month period and is not normally paid by the company she temps at but rather draws salary from the temping agency.
  • Independent contractor or consultant - Anyone who provides specialized work for an agreed period of time and is paid on retainer is an independent contractor or consultant. Examples of independent contractor or consultant jobs are architects, engineers, It specialists, or security detail specialists. Independent contractors or consultants are paid higher fees even if the nature of the job falls under casual employment. This is because this type of casual jobs are very specialized, extremely skilled, and in high demand. Perhaps a few of the upsides or benefits of the job are the leniency in time and the option of working for more than one company as long as job performance is not compromised. One downside that is stipulated in the contract is the termination of services any time the hiring company chooses to do so

How are casual employees hired?

This is on a case-to-case basis as decided by the hiring company. However, aside from the rules stipulated by the IRS for paying taxes, there are general proviso rules that are applied by Human Resources in terms of eligibility, hiring process, hours worked, compensation, performance reviews, benefits, separation or termination notice. Each of these rules is generally left for the hiring company to decide on.

Keep in mind that if a hiring company extends the working hours of a casual employee beyond 1000 hours, according to law the company must review the position and re-classify it accordingly which means a move up to regular employment with benefits attached to it.

For more information about casual jobs offered in the United States, click http://federaljobs.net/usps.htm.

Good luck and have a fruitful casual job hunting adventure!


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