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Contingent Worker
Term Used Globally

Contingent Worker

Used to describe work arrangements that differ from regular/permanent, direct wage and salary employment. Contingent work and workers are primarily distinguished by having an explicitly defined or limited tenure.

Contingent workers include temporary employees provided by an outside staffing agency and independent contractors/consultants. Contingent workers may also include temporary workers from an internal pool, and others (such as summer interns, seasonal workers, freelancers, “crowd-sourced” workers, etc.) employed directly by an organization for an intentionally limited time period.

From an employer point of view, contingent work also includes statement-of-work (SOW) consultants who work for the company on a short-term basis. While the consultants themselves may or may not have an expectation of ongoing employment with their consulting firm, their work for the client is considered contingent.

Workers in Professional Employer Organization arrangements are not contingent workers, because the relationship is by definition ongoing. Similarly, outsourced service workers would not be included in contingent work as this work is expected to have an ongoing rather than explicitly defined, short-term tenure.

The “contingent worker” label applies to all workers of any skill type or experience level who meet this definition, including those in professional, blue-collar, or office/clerical roles.


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