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The Costs, Benefits and Challenges of Contingency Work in Human Service Agencies

JHHSA, Vol. 43 No. 3, 288-308 (2020)

Increasingly, professionally trained human service workers are employed on a contingency basis. This article reports findings from an exploratory qualitative study in which contingent direct service staff and permanent agency administrators were interviewed to ascertain their views on contingency work arrangements in the human services. Two broad research questions guided this inquiry: (1) what are the rationales for contingency employment from the perspectives of the staff who obtain it and the agencies that utilize it; and (2) what are the effects of contingency employment on the contingent workers and the agency? Findings are placed in the broader context of neoliberalism and its impact on the human service sector with focus on the fiscal factors that drive contingency arrangements and the fragmenting of human service work environments as a result.

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