EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Intermittent work

Intermittent work is a form of employment often related to an individual project, specific task or seasonally occurring job. It is defined in Eurofound’s 2015 research, New Forms of Employment, as being characterised by a fixed-term period, which either involves fulfilling a task or completing a specific number of days’ work.

Eurofound's research found that intermittent work is emerging, or of increasing importance, in EU Member States such as Belgium, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. For example, in Belgium, intermittent work covers specific short-term contracts (two consecutive days) that clearly define the work to be done to cover peak periods in the tourism sector. It was established by the government in 2007 as part of a revitalisation plan and revised in 2013. An employer may make use of such contracts for up to 100 days per year, and must pay a lump sum of €7.50 per hour (up to €45 per day) in social security contributions (rather than linking the contributions to the actual wage). The workers earn full social security rights, which means that this employment form is heavily subsidised by the government. The worker also benefits from standard labour regulations.

In Hungary, the 2010 Simplified Employment Act introduced a form of intermittent casual work known as ‘simplified employment’, aimed at increasing legal employment and replacing the system based on the Casual Employee Booklet, which was considered to be open to abuse. Simplified employment is never compulsory: parties are free to opt for a standard employment relationship even if the contract is just for a few days. However, simplified employment cannot be used if there is already another employment relationship between the employer and the worker.

In Slovakia, ‘agreement contracts’ for work performed outside an employment relationship allow workers to have a job limited in scope and nature in addition to their regular employment contract. The Labour Code differentiates three types of agreement contracts:

  • work performance agreements, for work that delivers a specific result – for instance, the translation of 10 pages within a week – and does not exceed 350 hours per calendar year;
  • agreements on work activities that can be used for activities in any sector performed for up to 10 hours per week for a definite or indefinite period (such as working in a shop for two hours a week or cleaning once a week);
  • agreements on temporary work for students, which may be concluded with second-level school students and full-time university students up to the age of 26 for no more than 20 hours per week.

See also: Adaptability; Casual worker; Fixed-term work; Flexicurity; Fragmentation of the labour force; New forms of employment; Part-time work


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