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Are on-hired working arrangements ‘precarious’?

There has been considerable growth in on-hired contracting over the last number of years, and is today considered a permanent fixture of the contingent employment landscape.

The growth of this arrangement has attracted plenty of debate about the ‘precarious nature’ of this workforce sector. Amongst the key concerns are whether their safety at the workplace is a higher risk given the arm’s length relationship between worker and employing entity at the host site, and whether this working group found it more difficult to attain things like loans. As an entity that employs less than 15 employees I’ve received two phone calls recently – one from a Bank and the other from a Real Estate Agent –querying whether my employees (who are permanent employees BTW) employment was ‘stable’! Are you kidding me?

As a leading employment compliance specialist, with nearly 1 million individuals having completed a process within the WorkPro system (a high percentage of these being on-hired temporary contractors), I was intrigued about this debate. We therefore decided to find out for ourselves about the individual’s attitudes to and experiences in working as a contingent worker.

Our line of questioning was not related to whether the individual had been successful in attaining credit or a loan, but more along the lines of their experiences as a contingent worker, their safety in the workplace and their understanding of the worker/labour hire/host organisation relationship.

WorkPro conducted two separate surveys – one in 2011 and one in 2014.

The Survey in Summary:

  • The survey was conducted as an opt-in survey.
  • The survey questions were positioned at the commencement of a work health and safety induction fittingly entitled ‘On-Hired Employee Safety’.
  • More than 11,000 individuals completed the brief survey

Questions asked:

  • Person’s reasons for contracting
  • The industry they were working
  • How long they had been contracting
  • How well they understood their entitlements
  • If they understood the complexity of the contracting arrangement where work health and safety was concerned.
  • If they felt ‘part of the host site’ culture
  • If they felt at risk of workplace injury because of their potentially rapidly changing working environments.
  • The areas they were most interested in understanding as part of their workplace induction.

More In-Depth Results

  • In both surveys, just under 40% of respondents revealed that they enjoyed the flexibility that contracting offered and 30% of respondents enjoyed the variety of work.
  • 40% of respondents did however state that they were contracting while seeking permanent employment and 65% from the 2011 survey responded that they would be interested in transitioning to a permanent role, even with a reduction in salary.
  • In both surveys, more than 95% of respondents fully understood their employment rights and responsibilities.
  • More than 90% of respondents had a full understanding of the triage relationship between themselves, the recruitment/labour hire firm and the host organisation.
  • 74% of respondents did not feel that their work related safety was compromised as an on-hired contractor and they were very satisfied that their safety had been considered as if they were a full time employee of the host organisation.

Keeping up the Good Work

Hundreds of recruitment/labour hire firms utilise WorkPro as their e-learning and induction solution of choice, and we are proud to be associated with a sector that has a genuine desire to keep their workers free from workplace safety risk.

WorkPro has a very strong relationship with the recruitment industry in particular. With the high number of individuals having completed WorkPro’s On-Hired safety module, directed by the Recruitment Consultant confirms to us this industry sector’s understanding and commitment to keeping these workers safe, particularly in light of the ‘arm’s length’  nature of this working arrangement.

If you are part of this dynamic working arrangement and would like to receive future information about employee compliance, or workplace safety, we welcome you to join our LinkedIn Company Page and subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with employment compliance information and content.

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