As a Business Owner, What Should I Know About Using Temporary Workers?

If you’re planning to ramp up your temporary staff this summer, here are a few things to know.

Generally, temporary work is any work that is not intended to be permanent or long term. Temporary work can be full- or part-time. Use of temporary workers (sometimes referred to as temps) may provide you with some flexibility to handle employee absences due to illness, vacation, or maternity leave. They may also help you handle special projects, busy times, or seasonal work.

Temporary workers can be hired directly or through a temporary employment agency. Temporary workers you hire directly, even if part-time, are generally treated the same as full-time workers and may be entitled to employee benefits through you. For example, a worker who completes 1,000 hours of service in a year may be eligible to participate in your retirement plan.

On the other hand, a temporary employee hired through a temp agency works for the agency, not for you. The employment agency is generally responsible for the temporary employee’s benefits, if any. The hourly wage rate you pay to the agency may be higher as a result.

The temp agency can save you time and effort by finding and screening potential employees so that you don’t have to. The agency may have a pool of workers available at any time and at a moment’s notice. The screening, in particular, may be worth the extra cost in the current tight job market.

However, you may need to break in or train a temporary employee each time you get one from the employment agency. To minimize this, you may request that the employment agency send a temporary employee who has already worked for you before.

Sometimes a temporary employee may become a permanent employee. If an employee was hired through a temporary employment agency, depending on your contract with the employment agency, you may need to pay a fee to the agency if you permanently hire the temporary employee.