Contingent Employment in Europe and the United States examines the developments in labour markets in advanced economies in the 21st century, as regards contingent employment. This is defined as employment relationships that can be terminated with minimal costs within a predetermined period of time. This includes fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work and self-employment. Contingent employment has been the subject of much legislative activity in the last decade, at both the national and European level. Temporary agency work, in particular, has recently been extensively deregulated in most European countries and currently we await the fate of a proposed EU directive on agency work. The book is therefore highly topical.
Using evidence from Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and the US, the authors assess the increasing use of contingent employment against the legislative and institutional background in these countries. The European countries represent a wide range of regulatory regimes within the European Union, and comparison with the United States, where contingent employment is least regulated, is a useful feature of the book. Some emphasis is placed on the role of temporary work agencies. This is not only due to recent spate of legislation but also because agency work is the type of contingent employment that grew most rapidly in the last decade, it is a relatively novel form of employment, and has several interesting theoretical features.
The book is aimed at scholars of labour economics and management, and will also be of interest to those practitioners involved in labour markets, primarily policymakers at both the European and national levels.