Many jobs cannot offer traditional 9-5 employment nowadays, 5 days-a-week, 52 weeks a year less statutory and public holidays, especially in today’s economic environment.  The traditional solution has been to pay a premium for ‘out-of-hours working’; but what if ‘in-normal-hours’ working doesn’t provide a steady work-load of useful employment on such a basis?  In an increasingly competitive, customer-focused, service-based and price-sensitive economy, that isn’t always economically viable.

Alternative solutions are typically to hire temporary labour, or to offer short-term contracts.  But both arrangements are sub-optimal for both employees and employers, especially when both a key business and employment advantage truly depends upon flexible working hours.  Good people have no job-security and often no employer-investment in their personal career and professional development.  Good employers, meanwhile, have little incentive to invest in and develop such peoples’ further development, and they rob themselves of such employee’s loyalty, acquired in-house knowledge and future potential.

One possibility for a truly flexible work-force subject to fluctuating demand is to agree an ‘Annual Hours Contract’ for those so affected, that formally commits to an overall annual salary paid monthly with full employment rights, but flexible working hours as required either per day, week or month, depending on the predictability of the work-load and the nature of their business, subject to similar flexibility by their employer in terms of holidays, required due notice of working hours and family circumstances, and of course the EU Working Hours Directive.

Have you ever been employed or employed others on such a basis; did it work, and what were the wrinkles you had to work through?

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