With summer approaching, businesses might need additional help to cover a busy summer peak season or provide cover for annual leave for regular staff. If you need some extra help, temporary workers can be the ideal solution to save you stress without the need to hire additional permanent staff.
The types of temporary contracts that businesses can avail are:
- Fixed term contracts – these are used for a specific period of time and the fixed term contract will state that the employment is from X date to X date.
- Specified purpose contracts – these are used for a specific purpose. For example, if your business is busiest during the summer you could hire staff for this specific purpose or to cover a long term absence when you are unclear of their return to work date.
- Casual / If and only contracts – these are used for casual work whereby a number of hours of work are offered each week, it may vary from week to week, and the employee can either accept or refuse the hours of work offered.
- Zero-hour contracts – these are used whereby the hours and days of work are variable, however, the employee is required to be available for work even when there is no guarantee of work. In the event of an employer not giving an employee at least 25% of the hours that the employee must be available for work, the employee is entitled to payment of 25% of their contract hours or 15 hours, whichever is less.
When hiring temporary staff it is important that businesses know what the rights are for temporary staff and avoid falling foul of the law when employing workers on a short-term basis. Temporary employees have many of the same employment rights that apply to permanent staff. For example, they have the right to a written contract within two months of starting employment. If you need a sample temporary contract you can download one here.
Working conditions must be the same for temporary workers as they are for permanent employees which includes:
- Annual leave entitlements (though calculated on a pro-rata basis)
- Rates of pay
- Rest periods
- Tax arrangements
In addition, temporary employees have the right to take a discrimination claim in relation to areas such as age and race. It is important for employers to treat temporary staff in the same way as they would do a permanent employee to avoid any equality issues arising.
If you prefer to pass the paperwork and payment responsibilities onto a third party, then you have the option of hiring your temporary staff via an agency. In this event, their employment rights will be in line with the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012– which ensures that all temporary agency workers must receive equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer.
For further information in this area, you can refer to our guideline on seasonal workers or temporary agency workers. If you would like to discuss the matter further you can contact Helen Quinn, SFA Executive, on 01 605 1668 or at firstname.lastname@example.org