Non-Standard Employment


Priorto the 1950s, many Canadians relied on one permanent and stable jobfor their income. However, workers began taking more than one job inorder to complement their income. The trend gained higher momentumduring the 198-82 recession. It also increased a notch higher at thepeak of the economic depression that welcomed the 1990s. Since then,the number of workers providing non-standard labor has beenincreasing steadily. Employers argue that non-standard workers arevaluable because they reduce expenses attributed to permanentemployees. In addition, the terms, of hiring non-standard staff, areeasy, as the employer does not require taking employees throughtedious interviews intended to determine their skills or suitabilityfor the job. In fact, employers can hire an employee on a temporarybasis for a few hours with the intention of monitoring anindividual’s capacity for accomplishing the required workstandards. Non-standard employees substantially reduce employers’expenses for workers. Besides, it enhances both workers andemployers’ versatility.

Canadaclassifies various work contracts as non-standard employment. Thispaper will utilize data from the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS)and Statistics Canada’s annual General Social Survey (GSS).According to the 1994 GSS data definition, part-time workers arenon-standard staff, and they include individuals that work less thanthirty hours (Krahn 35). The second category of non-standard workersincludes multiple jobholders. The jobs could be part-time, paid oreven self-employed. Third class is composed of own-account workers.These are autonomous professionals but are categorized asnon-standard because they have no employees. Fourth, contract ortemporary workers are individuals that are holding a job with aspecified end-date. This group is mainly composed of paid employees(Krahn 36).

Oneof the primary benefits of non-standard employees provide in anorganization include flexibility. The employers can hire extra laborwhen necessary, as they are not obliged by statutory laws to maintainthe worker longer than the required period. For example, manybusinesses such as clubs that have peak and off-peak business hoursmay opt to hire extra labor during the peak hours. The contractemployees are paid for the hours they would serve an organization(Krahn 37). This saves an employer money since he or she would notneed to hire an employee on a full-time basis. Besides, the employercan also shift the workers from one station to another that requiresimmediate labor. This form of flexibility is restricted informalemployment situations because employees have contracts and statutoryprotection that limits the tasks that they are supposed to do in anorganization. In my view, non-standard workers provide affordablelabor because an employer can even extend an employee’s workschedule when necessary. For example, a business that has hired atemporary worker to assist a sales team during a five-day peak seasonmay decide to increase a workers period to ten days when necessary(Krahn 38).

Anemployer may also find non-standard labor affordable when contractingprofessionals for tasks that a business may occasionally require. Forinstance, Canadian businesses file their tax returns at least once ina year. The cost, of hiring a permanent expert for calculating taxreturns in a business, is very high, especially for the small-scaleorganizations (Walker 14). Fortunately, non-standard employmentopportunities enable employers to hire the professionals only whenthey are required for the job. This implies that employers save thecost of buying furniture and renting space for the tax returns expertwhose tasks will only be required at least once every year. The laborarrangement is also essential because an employee is working for theorganization as a pat time worker in one department or business maybe transferred to another department where their skills are needed(Walker 15).

Employersthat occasionally use non-standard employment strategies can takeadvantage of the varying demand and supply of labor in the externalmarket. For instance, labor becomes cheap during recessions, as thereare numerous skilled professionals either looking for complementaryjobs or have been laid off. This implies that an organization canadjust its regular salary for contract workers it will hire in thefuture. (Walker 16) In addition, an organization can downsize itsstaff size its staff size as necessary. For example, the employer candismiss excess labor without significant financial complicationscompared to companies that are laying off employees that have along-term job contract. Statutory requirements require employers topay pensions and a variety of other dismissal costs. Besides, theinformal hiring method offers an affordable strategy for compensatingfor a shortage of professionals in a given field when necessary(Walker 19).

Nonetheless,non-standard employment programs in Canada have variousdisadvantages. One of the major weaknesses associated with the plansis that contracted staff are less suited for teamwork. Employees thathave worked in an organization for a long time are often familiarwith policies and expectations of an employer from the staff.Besides, the individuals lack team-specific experience foraccomplishing a job successfully. In addition, contractors often lackversatility for working in different environments (Walker 17). In myview, workers that are used to working in the environment or withcertain tools have higher productivity than temporary employees dosince they understand the work standards and ethics of the business.Third, part-time employees lack organizational devotion necessary forenhancing productivity, profits, and innovation. In fact, temporaryand unethical staff cannot be trusted with confidential informationon an organization since they might leak the information to therivals. For example, a company with an elaborate marketing plan orquality products should hide their business secrets since they mightuse in a way that would disadvantage the business.

Onthe contrary, non-standard workers have a variety of benefits such asautonomy. Full-time employees are restricted to rules and regulationsof an organization, including staying in office from eight in themorning to five in the evening. However, part-time employees remainin office as long as it is necessary. Second, it provides increasedearning potential. Students above fifteen years often take part timejobs during holidays, weekends, evenings and days that they are notattending school (Walker 24). The opportunities provide students withan opportunity to earn extra income that can cater for their dailyexpenses. Third, non-standard employees are flexible. They can workfor as many employers as possible. In addition, they can choose theirpreferred remuneration through comparing the offers available fromdifferent employees. Finally, the workers have a good work-lifebalance as they determine the hours they would like to work. Forexample, a worker may decide to work for six hours in a day, unlikeregular employment environment where employees might be required forover fifteen hours a day without overtime pay (Walker 26).

Accordingto the New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, the author claimsthat many employers embrace non-standard workers in Canada sincenon-standard labor does not follow the regular standards andprovisions do not protect them (27). This facilitates quickadjustment of laborers as employers hire, remunerate and determinethe term of the contract. On the other hand, non-standard workers maybe disadvantaged since employers may underpay them. Besides, theylack job security since they have no legal contracts that hinderemployers from dismissing them as they wish. Workers also lackstatutory benefits and entitlements such as aspects of annual andsick leave, maternity break, minimum wages and unfair dismissal.Formal employment regulations require employers to give their staffadditional benefits such as retirement benefits, medical coverage andaccidents’ insurance (Walker 25). Non-standard workers lack thesebenefits as most of them work on a casual basis. Labor economistsadvocate hiring the informal labor because it saves employees extrabenefits they give to standard employees such as transport andhousing allowance, office space, and even work tools. Manycontractors carry their tools. Other disadvantages associated withnon-standard labor include lack of career training, development andminimum wage (Walker 26). The cost of labor is mainly determinedexternal conditions such as demand and supply. If an employer canfind people willing to work at a lower cost than their presentemployees do, they have liberty to choose the affordable workers.Experts in labor economy describe non-standard employment plans aspotentially dangerous and oppressive. Besides, they can lower thequality of product or service because workers lack devotion andmotivation for their work (Walker 28).

Inthe recent past, workers have been leaving formal employments to joinnon-standardized labor. Many organizations are turning to usingtemporary agencies and outsourcing various forms of tasks. Thesignificance of this labor arrangement is improving the quality ofservices and productivity by through transferring job risks and coststo individual workers (Walker 28). For example, an organization thathas won a contract to maintain the computer system of a company, andpaid for the entire work, ensures to complete the labor within theshortest time possible. Besides, the workers will strive to deliverthe highest quality of work possible to maintain a long-termrelationship with the client. As a result, the non-standard staffimprove productivity and quality of services they provide (Walker26).

Employersfear labor unions since they empower laborers to demand betterremuneration, work terms, and other incentives. However, non-standardjob plans have led to reduced safety and health levels, workplacede-unionization, deteriorating work environment in industries andcorrosion of wider labor market standard. However, non-standard is inits infancy stage in Canada (Walker 25). The present sanity in thenormal employment has developed over many centuries. Similarly, thenew labor arrangement will soon develop into an ethical industry withits unique labor unions for ensuring workers have fair terms. Forinstance, the workers should begin working on establishing a unionthat would lobby for their rights. The present labor union caters forstandard employees thus, informal workers require an independentunion. Besides, the workers should establish industry-specificregulations that would in turn help to maintain the best ethics(Krahn 36).

Inmy view, I would propose non-standard work arrangements, such asagency and self-employment, become a voluntary industry whereindividuals attracted by superior work environment can venture. InCanada, majority of the highly skilled professionals inspecializations that are occasionally required in businesses such astax calculation are opting to join the non-standard work industry.Some of the major benefits that are prompting professionals prefernon-standard work arrangement to formal employment include enhancedcontrol to lifestyle, work conditions and financial rewards (Krahn37). Traditionally, non-standard work method was associated withunskilled and semi-skilled workers with no qualifications that couldenable them to secure steady jobs. However, the trend will graduallychange as high skilled professionals join the industry. Professionalsthat have reached the peaks of their careers are also opting to joinnon-standard work arrangements because they offer greateropportunities that employees cannot attain in regular employment.Individuals working in businesses that promise neither promotion norlong-standing job security will be opting to take informal worksector that promises career independence and versatility using avariety of skills (Krahn 38).

Otherthan Canada, reliability on non-standard jobs is common in otherindustrialized countries, especially China and India. One of theprimary reasons the field has developed significantly in thecountries is that workers voluntary join the sector, unlike in Canadawhere many potential professionals still believe that non-standardwork arrangements are intended for the marginalized individuals thatcannot secure jobs in regular work environment. The few professionalsworking in the informal sector are the workers that are shed off bybig international companies (Krahn 39). This means that theindividuals are willing to go back to standard work environment ifonly they could get secure jobs. As a result, potential employersunderstand the desperation of the professionals hence, they hiretheir services at low cost. The Asian countries with establishednon-standard work arrangements successfully overcome challenges suchas variable earnings, job security, loss of training and non-paybenefits, and limited assignments choice through developing strongrelationships with their customers. If the non-standard workers canbecome focused on their jobs, dedicate adequate effort towardsproving the quality of their work to clients, the industry candevelop and offer reliable, or even better, work opportunities thanthe standard practice fields (Krahn 40).

Insummary, non-standard employees substantially reduce employers’expenses for workers, as well as enhances both workers and employers’versatility. It provides diverse benefits such as improvedremuneration, work flexibility, balanced family-work balance and workindependence. The non-standard work arrangement in Canada has beendeveloping at a substantially high rate. The industry grew by 58% inthe 1990s decade while full-time employment increased by 18%. In2000, a third of workers in Canada had already ventured into theinformal work sector to recent statistics non-standard work plan iscommon in non-profit sector compared to the for-profit industry.Similarly, permanent employees are the minority in cultural centers.The trend has made the centers emphasize on the significance ofcontract, seasonal and self-employment. Labor economists claim thatnon-standard labor industry in Canada will significantly acceleratethe economy development as workers strive to deliver high-qualitywork to maintain a long-term relationship with employers. On thecontrary, entrepreneurs hire non-standard workers, as they are notobliged to follow the tedious regulations established by labor unionsand government. For example, they can hire employees for justaccomplishing the desired jobs. This implies that they only pay forthe work done. Similarly, they can adjust the workers’ income tomatch the existing demand and supply environment.


Krahn,Harvey. “Non-standard work on the rise.” Perspectives.Web. 22 January. 2015.

Walker,Bernard. “How does non-standard employment affect workers? Aconsideration of the evidence.” NewZealand Journal of Employment Relations,36 (3): 14-29.