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contingent employment

Stanley Nollen


Contingent employment, or atypical employment (the term more frequently used in Europe), is employment that depends on employers' changing and transitory needs for labor input (other terms are peripheral, precarious, or supplemental employment). It is demand‐driven, “on‐call” employment, determined by the employers' decisions about when, where, and how much work is to be done. It is the opposite of regular core employment. Employers use contingent labor to achieve flexibility in the size of their workforces as the demand for labor fluctuates, to buffer core employees from job loss during business downturns, to reduce labor costs through lower wage or benefits payments (sometimes this goal is not achieved), and to ease management tasks to the extent that contingent workers are not employees of the organization where they work. In practice, the distinction between contingent and core employment is not always clear. Four characteristics help to identify who is a contingent worker (though no one trait by itself is a sufficient definition). Contingent workers have: 1 little job or employment security; 2 irregular work schedules; 3 lack of access to benefits; and 4 little attachment to the company at which they work ( Polivka and Nardone, 1989 ). Contingent workers have no explicit or implicit contract or commitment from the organization for which they work. They have no expectation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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