Now that the summer season is upon us and given the uncertainty of international travel, there will undoubtedly be a staycation boom this year.
Hotels, restaurants, bars and many other businesses within the hospitality and leisure industry will experience an influx of customers. You may consider engaging numerous casual workers to meet these increased demands. But be careful not to fall foul of any employment laws and bear in mind the following four points when engaging casual workers:
On a pro rata basis, casual workers accrue statutory annual leave. It has been common practice for businesses to pay casual workers a compensatory amount of money in addition to their hourly rate in substitution for annual leave. However, this may be unlawful and extra care should be taken if this is your usual practice – there are some complexities around annual leave so it needs to be considered carefully.
Casual workers may also have pension rights. Where a casual worker earns over £192 a week or £833 a month if paid monthly they should be automatically enrolled into your company's pension scheme – there are also rules around casual workers requesting to be enrolled in any event, so it is prudent to understand the position from the beginning to avoid accruing liability.
There is a common misconception that if any casual workers are being engaged for a short period of time there is no need to add them onto the company payroll. This is not the case. No matter how short the employment period is, if you are directly engaging casual workers (i.e. not through an agency), it is essential that they are processed through the payroll.
Casual workers are still entitled to the national minimum wage, rest breaks (one 20-minute break per six hours of their working day), the right not to work more than 48 hours a week on average (but they can opt out if they choose), and the right to statutory sick pay (if they are paying class 1 National Insurance contributions).