Every worker is entitled to rights in the workplace, but many are not clear of what those rights are. It is true that the rights are different between a casual worker and a person identified as an employee. The first step to knowing what your rights are is being able to identify if you are in fact a casual worker, then you will need to identify your rights.
Casual Worker Defined
The term casual worker describes workers who are not part of the permanent work force, but who supply services on an irregular or flexible basis. Casual workers have no guarantee of ongoing employment and are employed by employers as needed.
A worker works under a contract of employment or any other contract, whether express or implied. This means a worker is any person who has agreed to work personally for an organisation, but who doesn't qualify as an employee.
Employees have protection against unfair dismissal, the right to maternity or paternity pay or leave, protection under Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE), and statutory sick pay; workers do not have any of these protections or rights. Also the statutory grievance and disciplinary/dismissal procedures do not apply to casual workers. Employees are also expected to come to work and cannot turn down work like casual workers can.
Casual Workers' Rights
Casual workers have the benefit of what is known as basic rights; protection against some forms of discrimination. These include sex, disability, race and equal pay legislation. Workers also have rights to national minimum wage, health and safety protection, rights under the Working Time Regulations; this includes, restrictions on working hours and the right to regular breaks, whistle-blowing protection and protection against unfair wage deduction. Casual workers are also entitled to bereavement, to have employee records, and have workers' compensation if injured on the job.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 says an employee is basically a person who works under a contract of employment. This is not always simply cut and dry, but to help these two things must be present; first, there must be a requirement for the employee to provide the work personally and second, there must be mutuality of obligation.