I’ve been racking my brain about this for a solid 30 minutes and I keep drawing blanks. I know there’s a specific word for someone who works at an establishment, but doesn’t work a consistent schedule. It’s not “part-timer” “floater” “Standby” or “On-call”. There’s a specific term for it, like you’d ask someone:

P1: “What days do you usually work?”

P2: “I only come in when they need extra help.”

P1: “Oh, so you’re a ____?”

  • 3
    Why does "part-timer" not work? Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 18:31
  • “On call” best fits the example sentence..
    – user 66974
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 19:18
  • Supernumerary? Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 23:57
  • 1
    P2 : Yes, I am a temp.
    – Graffito
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 7:58
  • Are you looking for PRN? It means as needed. In the medical fields, like nursing, this term is used frequently. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prn
    – JLG
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 2:29

5 Answers 5


You can say "I am a casual".

Cambridge Dictionary has


a worker who is not employed permanently but only when a company needs them

  • 1
    This is in the written title of some jobs Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 20:37
  • A recent term in UK is "zero hours contract". Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 20:56
  • That doesn’t sound like American English — not my version, anyway. Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 22:48
  • 1
    @TinfoilHat the Q is not tagged for American English dialect. Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 9:20


adjective, adverb

doing particular pieces of work for different organizations, rather than working all the time for a single organization:

  • Most of the journalists I know are/work freelance.

  • a freelance artist

  • 1
    freelancer i.e. independent contractor
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 15:32


"What Is Per Diem Employment?

Per diem employees do not have regular schedules and instead provide availability hours. They work those hours if their employer has a need for them. Instead of being paid at an hourly or salaried rate, per diem employees are paid on a per diem rate, which is often a higher rate."


Would it be the itinerant worker?

M-W gives:

traveling from place to place especially
: covering a circuit.

itinerant preacher

  • That implies travelling about looking for casual work, not working occasionally for the same company. Commented Oct 15, 2023 at 7:57

I think the best answer would be a locum. A locum doctor acts like a supply teacher does in schools, arriving to support other staff as and when needed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.