Non-standard working in public services in Germany and the United Kingdom

This paper is focused on those employed in the central civil service and those employed in local and regional government in Germany and the UK.

There are large numbers of public service employees who have not been specifically covered in this report, e.g. teachers and National Health Service (NHS) workers, although where possible we have given examples of the impact in specific parts of the sector. The same issues apply to state employees and outsourced employees as do apply to civil servants. In this sense it is clear that civil servants are as susceptible to the effects of policy changes as those in the private sector.

There is an extensive literature on non-standard work and vulnerable workers. However, as noted in the report prepared for the February 2015 ILO Meeting of Experts on Non-Standard Forms of Employment (NSFE), there is no official definition of this kind of employment. The report states that, typically, “NSFE covers work that falls outside the scope of a standard employment relationship, which itself is understood as being work that is full-time, indefinite employment in a subordinate employment relationship.” For the purpose of the discussion at the Experts’ Meeting, the report considered the following forms of non-standard employment: (1) temporary employment; (2) temporary agency work and other contractual arrangements involving multiple parties; (3) ambiguous employment relationships; and (4) part-time employment. This paper examines non-standard work especially as it concerns examples of vulnerable low paid workers, women workers, migrant workers, young workers and others, including those that have attained a low educational level. The concepts of non-standard working and vulnerable workers are linked because the jobs done by vulnerable workers are often part time, low paid and contingent. In this report we mention the low pay of many government workers (Unite 2014) and the many public sector jobs that have been outsourced to the private sector.