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Temporary worker warning

With the busy winter trading season around the corner, an employment law expert is warning businesses to make sure they are aware of workers’ rights – particularly temporary staff.

Many businesses will take on temporary staff, employed on a short-term basis to carry out certain roles, to help at busy periods. They can be employed on a fixed-term contract allowing them to work until an agreed termination date or until there is no further requirement for the role.

Anthony Fox, Employment and HR solicitor at Napthens in Preston, warns that it is important employment contracts should be worded to reflect this, and staff should be brought on board in time for them to be sufficiently trained to carry out the role.

He added: “Both the employer and worker must comply with the agreement and it’s important to note details such as termination periods changing depending on the length of a contract; and also workers’ rights.

“For instance, generally temporary workers on a fixed-term contract are entitled to the same working conditions as their permanent employee equivalents, and should not be treated any less favourably.

“This also means that they should receive the same rest periods, working hours, holidays and pay as permanent employees employed in equivalent roles in the company from day one of their contract.

“Some businesses will choose to employ a temporary worker through an agency, in which case it is appropriate to find the agency with the most suitable recruitment process. Agency workers are entitled to the same rights and working conditions as directly employed workers and employees after 12 weeks in the business.

“In this instance there are also other concerns to be aware of – it will be the agency’s responsibility to employ the worker and ensure they receive their rights under the Working Time Regulations and national minimum wage. Payment will also be made to the agency which will handle national insurance, holiday and sick pay.

“Businesses may wish to consider this approach, as opposed to engaging the temporary worker directly, and seeing which approach is most beneficial for their needs.”

Downtown in Business