At certain times of the year businesses can see a dramatic increase in footfall, making the hiring of temporary staff a common occurrence among a variety of different traders. Whether these members of staff are found through a recruitment agency or from direct advertising, there are a number of matters that could be valuable for employers to bear in mind. This article is intended as a guide to get you thinking, don’t forget it’s your responsibility to ensure that you meet all your responsibilities as an employer.


Temporary employees

Firstly, as outlined by GOV.UK, temporary employees are entitled to the same benefits and conditions as full-time staff. Some of these include:

  • Paid holiday allowance, alongside the same bank/public holiday leave as permanent staff.
  • The National Minimum Wage.
  • Rest breaks and limits on working time.
  • Statutory Sick Pay, in the event of the employee being signed off ill.
  • Paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

However, those employed on work experience cannot be considered a fixed-term hire, and may not be entitled to the same rights as other employees in terms of pay and holiday allowance.

 Fixed-term contract staff

An employee’s contract is considered fixed-term if:

  • The employee is given a contract of employment directly from a company that they have agreed to work for.
  • The employee has a contract that ends on a particular date, or following the completion of the work they are doing.

Fixed-term employees must be given a date as to when their employment will end. If this is over four years, they will no longer be considered a temporary member of staff.

Agency workers

Hiring someone to work for you on a temporary basis, through a recruitment agency, is often quite a different process to hiring temporary or fixed-term staff. Many of the responsibilities fall onto the shoulders of the agency, especially early on in the term of employment. The worker will be on the agency’s payroll for a defined period of time. However, you will be responsible for paying the agreed salary to the agency, of which they are likely to take a cut.

As the employer, you will also be responsible for the worker’s welfare whilst on your premises, and it is the agency’s responsibility to the employee that they receive fair treatment. After 12 weeks in the role, the worker will then be entitled to the same terms and conditions enjoyed by full-time staff.

Although knowing employee rights and regulations inside out can seem like something of a chore, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry when it comes to such sensitive matters? After all, a happy workforce can help a business to flourish.

Image credit:

Fiona Wong /