A temporary employee refers to an employee that works for a limited period of time within the organization.
A temporary employee can be hired either directly by the organization or by a recruitment agency; they may be hired on a full- or part-time, or casual basis, generally with the same conditions as permanent employees. An end-date is placed on the period of service. Temporary employees can be a great asset to the employers.
How to hire a temporary employee
Employers need to ensure that they are aware of their legal responsibilities. For instance, the employer will need to understand the different rules for hiring on fixed-term contracts and using agency workers. It's important that research is done, depending on the sector the organization works in, and the different types of temporary employment that are likely to be more suitable.
Below is an overview of three of the main ways employers can hire temporary employees:
1. Agency workers
You may choose to hire temporary workers through a temporary work agency. This is particularly common in the retail and hospitality sectors. If you’re hiring agency workers, you need to be aware of their rights under the agency workers regulation within your state.
All agency workers are classed as ‘workers’, rather than employees. As the employer, you will need to give them standard health and safety at work, and protection from unlawful wage deductions and discrimination.
2. Fixed-term contracts
An employee is on a fixed-term contract if they have a contract of employment, and it ends on a specific date or on the date a task or project is completed.
Fixed-term contracts are usually used for the following:
- Maternity cover
- Specialist employees needed for individual projects
- Seasonal or casual employees.
Temporary workers on a fixed-term contract may still be entitled to holiday pay, and notice periods depend on the terms of the contract, as well as how long the employee has worked for the organization.
3. Zero hours contracts
A zero hours contract is a type of employment where the worker is not guaranteed a set number of hours by the employer. Staff on these contracts are only paid for the hours they work, so you have more flexibility if there’s less work for them to do.
A zero hours contract allows the employer and temporary staff to have a more long-term agreement, even if the number of hours being worked is inconsistent.
These contracts also offer a more defined legal framework than other types of temporary employment, including measures such as performance reviews.