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Contingent workforce

Most companies have a workforce made up of traditional (or regular) employees. However, the use of alternative workers has become an increasingly popular option for many employers for a variety of reasons. When conducting a job analysis, companies may want to consider if alternative staffing options would be a good fit for their needs.

The terms “contingent workforce” and “contingent worker” refer to non-permanent, or provisional employees. Examples of contingent workers include:

  • Temporary workers (temps)
  • Independent contractors
  • Service contractors
  • Seasonal workers
  • Leased employees
  • Freelancers
  • Consultants
  • Independent professionals
  • Temporary contract workers
  • Self-employed workers
  • Outsourced employees

The contingent workforce is a large and growing segment of the overall U.S. workforce. Employers are turning to contingent workers as the economy slows and hiring traditional workers becomes more challenging. Many of today’s workers enjoy the flexibility and independence of contingent employment, often preferring it to permanent employment.

Although using a contingent workforce offers employers advantages in terms of flexibility, just-in-time project staffing, and employment cost savings, using contingent workers can also expose employers to unique risks. To minimize liability, companies must thoroughly understand the rules and regulations regarding temporary employees and familiarize themselves with the distinctions between traditional employees, common-law employees, and contingent workers.

Depending on the classification of the worker and a variety of other factors (such as who supervises the worker on a daily basis, etc.), there are numerous laws and regulations that companies must consider.