Tap to Read ➤

Information About Per Diem Jobs

Buzzle Staff
A per diem job means a job that has no fixed working days and hours. This CareerStint has some information about per diem jobs, including their advantages and disadvantages.
Did You Know?
Per diem jobs are very common in the medical field. Per diem nursing aides and assistants are constantly required to fill in for those who call in sick or those who are on leave.

A 'per diem job' means temporary employment. The word originates from Latin, meaning 'per day'. Per diem actually may refer to daily expenses ―travel, food, etc.―that an employer provides if an employee is sent on a business trip.
But, a per diem job is similar to a part-time or temporary job; however, the person is paid a flat rate per day and not on an hourly basis. Here, we shall take a closer look at what do per diem jobs entail and check out their benefits and disadvantages.
The Concept of Per Diem

As mentioned earlier, per diem actually means the allowances given to an employee in the course of his work. It may include travel expenses, food, lodging, and any other miscellaneous expenditure.
The same term, when used as 'per diem job', refers to temporary employment.
A per diem job may be of a very short duration―ranging from a few days to a few weeks―depending on the employment sector.
For example, consider a per diem job at a hospital, where 2 nurses are on a vacation for a few days.
In this case, per diem nurses will be called to fill in for those days. After the permanent nurses resume their job, and the need and employment of the per diem nurses comes to an end.
While this is a scenario where the per diem employee has to work full-time until the actual employee returns, there are cases where per diem staff work only in shifts. This depends entirely on the employer.
For instance, a per diem employee is expected to work in 4 shifts - 2 weekday and 2 weekend shifts. The shifts depend on the requirement of the hospital as well as the availability of temporary staff.
Per Diem Employee - Payment and Benefits

A per diem employee is not a regular employee; therefore, he does not receive any benefits.
A lot of people get confused about the benefits, since the definition of 'per diem' is to provide financial allowances to employees.
However, this happens when the employment is regular, i.e., the employee works for full-time, and is provided allowance for meals and other expenses.
When a person is a 'per diem employee', the hourly wage for such employees is higher than the regular payment. Also, you have to be ready to work in any shift whenever your employer needs you.
Your payment depends on the industry you are working for, the number of hours put in, and the quantity of work done.
Another important point (not really related to benefits) you need to remember is that per diem employees do not have job security; they generally used to be the first ones to get the sack when the census was low.

Having a per diem job in addition to your regular, full-time job will help supplement your income.
Moreover, most per diem jobs pay fairly well, irrespective of whether the pay is hourly or daily.
In fact, per diem nurses are paid much more than the regular salary received by permanent nurses.
Sometimes, you may just want to get some experience in a field. This is where per diem jobs help.
You do not have to succumb to the pressures of a full-time job; yet, you get sufficient experience in the particular field.
You get to work in a professional setting and understand if it is something you want to do for the rest of your life.
Such jobs help you explore as well; there are many job settings and designations, even within a particular field, and this will help you understand your area of interest.
Some people undertake per diem jobs solely for the sake of experience―perhaps, in order to list it down in their resume.
While it is true that you have to be present whenever your employer calls for you, per diem jobs offer flexibility.
It is not a typical 9-5 setting; you have a lot of convenience in working out your schedule.
There is no overtime either, and you can choose the shift that is convenient for you.

You may not stick to one designation in a per diem job, i.e., even in the same field, you could be called in to fill in for different positions with different responsibilities.
While this periodic change in designation may give many aspirants a chance to explore what they like or dislike, some may not be very comfortable with it. This is especially true for someone who may be a creature of habit.
Also, some might easily find work in accordance with their specialty, like nurses. At the same time, occupational and speech therapists may find it difficult to undertake per diem jobs as often.
Per diem jobs have no job security. You do not even have a proper work schedule.
While the pay may be good, there is absolutely no professional stability.
You have to remember that you are only filling in a vacancy―once the organization finds permanent employees, you have to pack your bags.
Often, your shifts may be canceled at the last minute as well. Thus, this job cannot be relied upon as the only source of income.

There are no benefits offered in a per diem job, which is why the per piece rates are pretty high.
There is nothing like sick leave, vacation, health insurance, etc.
There are no promotions, no overtime wages, and no paid leave. If you do not come for your shift (for whatever reason), your pay is canceled.
Considering the points mentioned above, you may be wondering if a per diem job is worth it. Frankly, like other occupations, these jobs have their share of benefits and drawbacks as well. It is up to the individual to assess his/her circumstances and decide whether he needs the job or not.
A sensible solution would be to have a stable, full-time job, and undertake a per diem job for the extra monetary benefit.