Contingent Workers and Occupational Health: A Review on the Health Effects of Nontraditional Work Arrangements
- Gary L. Mullins Jr.
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- January 2020
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 26 - 33
- 2020. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 6 in the last 30 days
- 6 since 2007
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- Employers today often balance employer/employee relationships through the use of internal and external hiring practices. Research sought to investigate the possibility of worker arrangement influencing occupational health.
- A contextual analysis explores the complexities of contingent worker arrangement versus the traditional core worker arrangement and how it has come to flourish in society.
- A literature review provides real-world examples to be analyzed against a backdrop of relevance determined through legalities, workplace culture and economic influences.
- Solutions are suggested on the basis of data surveillance and culture change.
Since the transcendence from hunter-gatherer to agrarian societies, humans have maintained a hierarchical arrangement between those willing to compensate and those willing to perform work. Looking beyond the antiquated modes of production (e.g., slavery, feudalism), capitalism and its socialized variants have given rise to varying balances of employer/ employee relationships. Motivated by stability and flexibility harmonization, employers today will often balance those relationships through their use of internal and external hiring practices (Kalleberg, Reynolds & Marsden, 2003). External hiring practices, or externalization, refers to “an organization’s use of workers who are not its regular, full-time employees”; internal hiring practices, or internalization, refers to “regular full-time employment” (Kalleberg, et al., pp. 525-526).
A plethora of terms can and have been used to describe the employment arrangements that both externalization and internalization produce. For the sake of fluidity, this review recognizes two specific terms as the parent descriptors of types of employment. The term core workers is defined as those with traditional ties to their employer and treated as though they have a stake in the company (Belous, 1990). The other term, which is the focus of this review, is contingent workers, defined by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2005) as “those who do not have an implicit or explicit contract for ongoing employment.” Also, to be noted, the term precarious worker is used interchangeably with contingent worker. More often, however, precarious worker is a term used to define a contingent worker who is more vulnerable to job insecurities such as having no enduring contract and lacking control over future income opportunities (Landsbergis, Grzywacz & LaMontagne, 2014).
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