The CIPD is developing guidance to help employers manage their non‐standard workers in a responsible and ethical way. The recent review of Modern Working Practices by RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor highlighted the need to boost job quality in the UK, particularly for people in so‐called non‐standard or ‘atypical’ employment.

While we await the UK Government’s response to a number of consultations which emanated from Taylor’s review on issues such as employment status and enforcement, CIPD has been conducting research into atypical working practices to inform a new guide for members.

This will help provide insights on how employers can manage an atypical workforce in a responsible and ethical manner, where the flexibility in these forms of working practices, as far as possible, work for both parties.

To inform this guidance we have been undertaking in‐depth interviews with a range of organisations that use different forms of non‐standard employment contracts, including self‐employed contractors, zero-hours contracts and temporary workers. It is apparent that a number of employers from a range of different sectors are taking initiatives to give atypical workers more control over their lives.

Some of the issues that have come through strongly include the need to have a strategic approach to engaging and managing atypical workers, integrating this within wider workforce planning activities. For example, what is the business rationale for the use of non‐standard employment contracts in terms of the need for flexibility - to meet customer demands, or because individuals genuinely want to work in this way?

Another key question for employers prompted by our interviews to‐date include whether alternative forms of workforce flexibility been considered and maximised, for example, by boosting the availability and uptake of flexible working practices among the permanent workforce.

The guidance will also include a focus on ensuring that the employment status of atypical workers reflects the reality of their day‐to‐day management, through regular contract reviews and information, guidance and training for managers.

It is also likely to cover issues such as how atypical workers should be able request a stable contract, which is one of the proposals suggested in the government consultation on transparency and their right to some form of compensation if shifts are cancelled with little or no notice.

I would be pleased to hear from CIPD members whose organisations use non‐standard employment contracts and who are interested in sharing their experience and learnings to inform the CIPD guidance as it develops. We are particularly interested in talking to employers from the social care, construction and hospitality sectors, although we are still collecting case studies more widely from other sectors as well.

Please share your experiences here

About the author

Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy

Ben leads the CIPD’s Public Policy team, which works to inform and shape debate, government policy and legislation in order to enable higher performance at work and better pathways into work for those seeking employment. His particular research and policy areas of interest include employment relations, employee engagement and wellbeing, absence and stress management, and leadership and management capability.

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