Contemporary Issues in Work and Occupations: Precarious Employment
Contemporary Issues in Work and Occupations: Precarious Employment
Employment is of various forms. An employee can work on temporary terms, permanent terms, under contract terms, or under subcontract terms. In temporary employment terms, there are the temporary employment relationships. Contract and subcontract terms of employment are defined under certain rights and responsibilities that are specified under the labor law to govern the agreement terms of the two parties.
In contract or subcontract employment, an individual is engaged to carry out a specified set of tasks with the employer and employee having a relationship whose establishment is based on a written employment contract specifying the employment terms and conditions. A defined length of employment is set including the salary, bonuses, and any other benefits that are likely to accrue to the employee under the contract. In temporary employment, the employment is specified within a given time in the same case of contract and subcontract employment.
The worker may hardly work for other businesses until the specified time elapses, but they can work full time or part time. The two cases of employment can be compared and contrasted as well as pointing out how they connect in some way. In contract employment, a contractor is engaged by a business to provide a task within a given duration of time. A decent contractual agreement involves the defined terms of payment, all benefits, any bonuses, and the terms of works, which sometimes may hardly apply especially in precarious employment.
In a decent or high rated contract, the specific role to be played by the contract employee is defined clearly, before the contract starts. All contract employees are usually engaged for a specified term but the conditions of work in the case of precarious employment contractual terms are poor and unfavorable in many aspects such as poor salaries, few or no benefits, and poor employee relationships (Irs. gov, 2013). Sometimes the contract could have a provision for a renewal but only under circumstances that are specified under the contract agreement if an agreement applies effectively.
In precarious cases of contract employment, contractual agreements may hardly play key roles in ensuring employee freedom. At the same time, the lengths and terms of contract engagements varies from one organization or employer to another but the term is typically associated with tackling a specified task or defined to work for a specified length of time, mostly in terms of years. In terms of the payments, precarious employment contracts receive less payments that they would require given the chance to dictate their compensations.
The agreement in a high contract employment specifies the exact amount as well as the manner in which the contract employee would be paid by the employer. This aspect of employee determination on the compensations to be provided hardly applies to precarious employment contract employees. In precarious employment, conditions of employment are poor and could be caused high completion of employment and the unwillingness of organizations to offer permanent employment.
Organizations in this case also want to avoid risks associated with taking full responsibility of workers and thus cut on their costs and risks by making use of low paid contract employees. Sometimes provisions are set in the contract employment terms that include cases of having to include salary increments at various milestones, which are usually set forth in the contract agreement for most contractors. The contractor in high-level contract employments is hardly entitled to salary increments or additional benefits, which may not have been included in the contact agreement before the start of the contract activity (McKendrick, 2005).
Any increments or additional benefits would require an amendment done on the contract. The amendment of the contract can only take place if the two parties establish consent to do it. In contract employment, breaching the contract would call for a lawful consideration of the contractual agreement. The employer may terminate the contract prematurely but he or she would be required by law to pay the contractor the full amount of money in terms of salary, benefits, and bonuses as specified in the contract agreement terms and conditions (McKendrick, 2005).
Sometimes the contract employee may engage in misconduct resulting to termination of the contract by the employer in which case the employer may fail to pay the amount specified in the contract terms and conditions. This case of considering the terms and conditions hardly apply to precarious employment contracts given that most of the contract employees are more careful with the terms and conditions provided by their employer. The high possibility of losing the contract to another individual makes it hard for a contract worker in precarious employment conditions mess up in his or job task.
The willingness of a contract worker in precarious employment conditions is hardly driven by the salary but rather the condition of life and lack of option to worker elsewhere. Contract employment can be of two major forms of contractors. A contractor can be either a contact employee or an independent contractor. A contract employee is termed to be an employee of a certain business or an organization (Peck, & Theodore, 2002). Many case of precarious employment contract employ workers who are contact employees.
On the other hand, and independent contractor works in free style and engages in providing service for a particular organization or business while working as high leveled contractors. Contract employment involves a direct link with the employer unlike the case of subcontract employment whereby the subcontractor depends on the general contractor for employment. The case of direct link to employers is however hardly prominent in the case of poor working conditions associated with some contract employments. Precarious conditions for contract employment provide limited connection between the workers and top managements.
Most of the working conditions are similar to the cases of temporary employment and the relationships in precarious employment contracts are similar to those of temporary working employees (Armstrong, Pat & Kate, 2006). Like in the case of contract employment, subcontract employment involves various types of subcontractors. One of the various types of subcontractors is domestic subcontractor whose obligation is to contract with the general or main contractor in supplying or fixing materials, goods, or executing work thereby forming part of the core contract.
The general contractor employs the domestic subcontractors. A nominated subcontractor creates a permit to an architect or supervising officer in serving the final selection right as well as approval of subcontractors. In this case, the main contractor is given permission to make profits from hiring nominated subcontractors, but he or she is required to provide attendance information. In the case of nominated subcontract employment, direct contractual relationship is established between the client and subcontractor of a given task (McKendrick, 2005).
A subcontractor ould be a named contractor who contracts with a general contractor in supplying or fixing materials, goods, or could be involved in executing tasks thereby forming a section of the core contract. It is challenging to determine whether an individual offering service to an organization is an employee or a contractor who is very independent. Some contractors are employees and could portray the same characteristics as in the case of temporary employment relationships who work under poor conditions, poor compensations, and unfavorable employer-employee relationships.
The similarity in this case may reduce a person who is seen as a contractor to a temporary employee but in some case, precarious employment contracts are seen to be worse than temporary employment relationships (Kalleberg, Barbara, & Hudson, 2000). In the case of an employee under precarious contract employment conditions, the employer is expected to withhold income taxes, provide payments on social security fund, pay Medicare taxes, and provide unemployment taxes on employees’ wages.
In the case of independent contractors, the employer can hardly withhold their income taxes or even do payment taxes on to them. Contract employment could sometime be considered as self-employments just like the case of one being the owner of a business or a contractor providing services to another business firm although in precarious employment conditions, contract employees can hardly term themselves as self-employed. In this case, one has own obligations on taxes and other deductions from their incomes (Flippen, & Chenoa A2012).
In an organization, determinations of how payments would be treated on offered services have to be initiated from the relationship existing between the organization or employers and the people offering services (Armstrong, Pat & Kate, 2006). Differentiating an independent contractor from a contract employee would call for looking at all information providing evidence on the worker independence and the organization’s degree of controlling the worker.
Degree of control or independence of the worker can be established from behavioral aspects, financial aspects, as well as the type of relationship existing between the worker and the organization or employer. In case the company has no control, over whatever the worker is doing, and how he or she does the task, it implies that the type of employment is contract employment whose conditions are hardly attractive to a real contractor or someone willing to work under permanent employment terms.
Again, if the worker’s business aspects are hardy controlled by the organization or the payer, including the way the worker would be paid, expense reimbursements, tool, and equipment provision, then the worker is an independent contractor. An independent contractor also seems to have little or no relationship with the organization or employer. The employer has no power over what the contractor does given that any mistakes are taken to be a liability to the contractor (McKendrick, 2005).
The employer only waits for the task accom0lishment in order to place his comments or point any disagreements with the contractor. The employer is therefore hardly allowed to take part in making decisions on the way the contractor does his or her job but he or she does in precarious cases of contract employment. The financial control over a worker, the relationship between the worker and the employer or organization, and behavior of the worker are aspects that distinguish between an employee and an independent contractor.
It comes out that, in the contract and subcontract employments, workers have control over their way of performing tasks including the payments terms as well as the time duration they can perform a given task or a set of activities. In some cases, an independent contractor may perform a given task within a shorter time than the provided time, but still earn the same amount of salary and benefits as provided by the contractual terms or even more in case there are any amendments to increase the payments and benefits of the contractor (McKendrick, 2005).
Contract and subcontract employment terms are different in many aspects from temporary employment and the relationships existing in temporary employment terms. Temporary employment terms provide that, an employee would offer services to an organization within a specified time or duration. The temporary employment relationships are faced with issues such as how the workers in the term of employment should plan for their time and the freedom they should have.
The only thing hardly understood in this case is that even some eople having the mind that they are working as contractors are usually under temporary employment terms and relationships (McGovern, Deborah, & Stephen, 2004). The relationship in temporary employment is that face with control from the organization. Contract employees are sometimes categorized in the temporary employment relationships since they have to take orders from their employers as long as they are working within the specified time of the contract. In temporary employment, a worker is required to leave his or her employer within specified time duration.
The relationship existing in temporary employment is mainly contractual; it is also referred to as interim or seasonal relationship. The workers are said to be casual, and their efforts could give way to permanent employment. Just like in contract employment, temporary workers are given the option of working on a full-time or part-time basis. The time depends on the employer or organization. The employer or management controls all hours of work or service. Working as a part-time worker may lead to fewer benefits or compensations or having to work for a longer duration depending on the agreement and terms of service.
Unlike in the contract and subcontract employment, workers in temporary employment relationships receive benefits such as Medicare and health insurance (Peck & Theodore, 2002). Such benefits are given to permanent employees, occasionally to temporary employees, and hardly to independent contractors and subcontractors. Temporary employment relationship may involve temporary work agencies or temporary staffing in which case workers are retained within a specified length of time after which they are dismissed.
Sometimes, temporary work agencies form contractual agreements with organizations and companies requiring temporary workers to provide them with temporary workers. Temporary workers are sometimes considered for cyclical economic situation in which case restructuring workers or employees in a company would be highly required (Kalleberg, Barbara, & Hudson, 2000). Recruiting firms do not supply companies with temporary workers, but temporary work agencies do provide firms with temporary workers when they require them.
In establishing the competences of temporary workers during their recruitment, a temporary work agency uses a set of standardized tests to provide judgment on the competence of the workers being recruited. Hiring a temporary worker would depend on the score obtained from the test, an aspect that fully contradicts with the way people are employed in contact employments. In contract employments, individuals earn contracts based on various factors including their competence with respect to their work records, the license they have acquired based on their licensing body, and their bargaining power (Peck, 2002).
The best contractor in terms of all the factors considered wins the contract. In temporary employment relationships, the employer requires that the temporary employees be given adequate instructions as per the job structure as well as information on the required attire for the job. The work hours are also specified, including the wages, and the person to whom the temporary employees would report. This aspect is also not specified in the contract and subcontract terms of employment since contractors and subcontractors have control over their work and working hours.
Contractors and subcontractors can hardly be assigned an additional task without having to amend the contractual agreement in terms of the salary increments and any additional benefits (Broemmel, 2013). In temporary employment relationships, temporary workers may not have control over their time. They can be required to tackle extra duties without having to adjust any agreements. Any complaints would call for the use of the right channel, but not directly with their employer like in the case of contract and subcontract employment.
The worker in a contract employment has a direct communication with the employer or organization’s management. Any complaint may require the amendment of the written contract terms and conditions and may lead to adjustments in the employment terms in the aspect of payments and benefits. Contrary to the way complaints are handled in the contract and subcontract employment, in temporary employment relationships, discrepancies may lead to the termination of the employment terms, decreased pay, or undermine any chances of getting better employment opportunities including permanent employment (Kalleberg, Barbara, & Hudson, 2000).
A temporary work agency may require that their temporary employees be provided to some organizations terminate their terms of service if they are working outside the initial agreements between the agency and the organization offering the temporary employment. This factor happens if the employees feel that they are exploited or employees are facing difficulties in the tasks they are assigned to offer their services.
In the temporary employment relationships, the temporary employees are required to maintain constant contact with the respective authority in case things had gone astray according to the way their activities were organized. In contrast to contract and subcontract employment, temporary employment is easy to venture into since those with the required technical requirement in the required industry or job field get the job (McGovern, Deborah, & Stephen, 2004). In many cases, the job is provided without a selection process being applied like in the case of contract and subcontract employment.
The temporary work agencies also absorb workers without them submitting their resume or going through an interview process. Contract and subcontract employment face many issues given that any misconduct or mistakes, in the task being offered, becomes a liability to the subcontractor, but the liability could turn out to be the organizations loss. Just as in contract employment, temporary employment relationships create room for flexible hour, but the flexibility is limited to the total time in terms of hours worked and the pattern of reporting to work.
The respective human resource personnel also watch the time flexibility closely as a way of determining worker productivity and performance; this may give way to permanent employment terms or contract employment (McGovern, Deborah, & Stephen, 2004). The temporary employee is likely to strive hard to get better working conditions or better terms of employment that may only come with accumulation of great wealth of experience. A contractor or subcontractor finds his or her job ultimate as far as working conditions and specialty are concerned.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 11 November 2016
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