Analysts generally divide work into two broad categories: the “regular, full-time work” performed by most Americans and “non-standard work,” which includes the following major subsets:
Contingent workers are hired only when there is an immediate and direct demand for their services; they consider their jobs temporary and cannot continue in them for as long as they would like due to business-related reasons.
Contract workers (business-service workers) subcontract with employers to provide long-term specialties such as data processing, mailing, document reproduction, security, landscaping and public relations.
Day laborers generally wait at prearranged sites to be hired in the morning for such unskilled work as construction and furniture moving.
Independent contractors provide services to clients for wages or a salary, and are commonly professionals such as lawyers, designers, computer programmers or accountants. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules distinguish them from employees based on the type of relationship they have with their employer.
Leased workers are employed by third-party companies that specialize in meeting payrolls and administering employee benefits under contract with the firm where the employees perform the work.
Job sharers are employees who divide the responsibilities of a single full-time job, typically so that each can spend more time with family or go to school.
On-call workers can be summoned on short notice, as with substitute teachers, nurses or construction workers.
Regular full-time workers expect a steady schedule of 35 hours a week or more with benefits and an open-ended duration.
Regular part-time workers expect a steady schedule of less than 35 hours with an open-ended duration.
Seasonal workers are in demand only during certain times of the year in such areas as agriculture, retailing and construction.
Self-employed workers are individuals who run a business. The IRS recognizes two subcategories: direct sellers, who sell or solicit the sale of consumer products in the home or place of business other than a permanent retail establishment, and licensed real estate agents, which includes both agents and appraisers. Others among the self-employed include home-based workers, who perform such tasks as word processing, sewing, craft-making or cooking in their homes, generally for a single employer who may pay them piece rates.
Telecommuters are employees who work at home or at a telecommuting station closer to home than their employer's office, communicating with their supervisor by phone, fax and modem.
Temporary workers are general-skills workers who are recruited, trained, placed and paid by a private agency for assignments that last for limited periods.
Sources: Internal Revenue Service, National Policy Association, Catalyst, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic Policy Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, National Association of Temporary Staffing Services.