Casual workers – are you complying with PAYE procedures?

Many employers have employees who they refer to as ‘casual workers’. These are often people who do not work regularly but who are called on when required by the employer. This may be during the summer season, over Christmas or at harvest time for farm workers. These are not in actual fact casual workers for PAYE purposes. They must be treated as all other permanent employees and the same payroll process should be followed. In practice, this means that they should be asked for a P45 when they start and if they do not have one then the P46 procedures are followed.

There are currently a few exceptions to this where special procedures can be followed. The exceptions are as follows:

  • Employees who work for less than a week;
  • Students who work for the employer only in their holidays;
  • Casual workers taken on for farming harvest work.

At Chiene + Tait we can provide you with more information on these exceptions and further details can also be found on the HMRC website.

It is important to note that the situation will change, however, when employers are operating under the new Real Time Information (RTI) rules next tax year. When employers start to process under RTI, these exceptions are no longer applicable. Under the new RTI regime all employees must be included on your payroll following the normal P45/P46 process.

If you have any queries on the PAYE treatment of casual labour or RTI in general, please contact Neil Cameron in our Payroll Team by email to or phone 0131 558 5800.