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Gig workers - what checks are needed

The gig economy has been growing rapidly over the last few years, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will force many more people into contract work. This continues to contribute to a growing talent pool for cash strapped companies looking for contingent workers to fill skills gaps.

Any non-permanent employees are considered contingent workers, they are the contractors, the freelancers and agency workers. According to numbers supplied by the Office of National Statistics, there are currently nearly 1.5 million temporary workers in the UK alone, and this number is set to rise in a post-Covid world.

The importance of background checks for permanent staff is now fully accepted, with around 90% of companies carrying out comprehensive screening for new hires. However, companies looking to cut corners in temporary staff recruitment, by considering screening an unnecessary strain on resources, are making a dangerous assumption.

Without the security of a long-term contract, temporary workers can pose a significant risk to your company. Many businesses have become victims of fraud or found themselves inadvertently hiring illegal workers due to failing to properly screen temporary workers.

Carrying out the right checks is crucial. Whether or not staff are permanent, workers can usually access company property and data, as well as other staff or customers, putting security and wellbeing at risk. In addition, not carrying out the right checks can invalidate some insurance policies. Reputational damage is another hazard, the true cost of an illegal working investigation or fraud scandal has the scope to bankrupt even the most stable companies.

With the economy in a constant state of flux, it is crucial for HR departments to change with the times and consider ways to reduce their labour costs through using contingent workers. This flexibility will be key in helping business recover from the hardships of recent times, but the recruitment of temporary staff must be managed effectively to ensure that all those working with your company are able to fulfil their duties safely and are legally allowed to do so.

A specialist screening provider will advise you on the right checks for your role, as well as provide a consistent process across temporary and permanent staff. Veremark are an internationally leading screening provider, offering 100% digital checks for staff around the globe.

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