Your Guide to Hiring Temporary Workers

There are numerous reasons for needing temporary workers. Maybe your business has seen a leap in demand and needs to up its ability to deliver goods and services temporarily? It could be that you operate in a seasonal sector that requires an augmented workforce during the holiday season, of course. There again, you might need cover for staff that are not present at work for some reason, such as those on holiday or maternity leave.

Whatever the reason for needing temp workers, there are two main options available to you. The first is to hire an employee to boost your available resources; the other is to turn to subcontractors. The former will mean that the worker enjoys full employment rights once they have passed their probationary period so they can be costly to get rid off when they are no longer needed.

On the other hand, subcontractors provide a great deal more flexibility. You can get hold of them on a temporary contract which means they need not be in your direct employment. As such, you don’t need to find a reason to sack them or go to the expense of making them redundant. If you no longer require their services, then simply do not renew their contract once it has expired.

How to Hire Temporary Workers as Contractors

To begin with, hiring a contractor as a temporary member of your workforce is quite easy. Some business owners think that there is a great deal to it but the fact is that it the same as paying for any other service. Let’s say you need an accountant for a few months to cover a member of your finance team who is off work.

In this example, you would simply need to advertise for someone with the relevant qualifications and experience. However, rather than issuing them with a letter offering them a full-time permanent contract of employment, you would offer a contractor’s contract instead. This would outline the scope of works, the responsibilities of the contractor and when the contract will come to an end.

Typically, contractors’ contracts also detail remuneration and have a clause or two that allows either party to end their arrangement sooner, if they wish to do so, by mutual consent. When drawing one up, you will often need some form of legal oversight to make sure everything is correct. That said, once it is signed, it means hiring a temporary worker without them enjoying the same employment rights as normal employees.

Why Use Subcontractors instead?

So far in this guide, you have found out about hiring contractors as temporary workers. This means having a direct relationship with your supplier, in this case, a temporarily engaged worker who is carrying out tasks on your behalf. However, this is not the only model of engaging temporary workers that is open to businesses.

The other approach you can take is to hire subcontractors. In effect, this will mean going to a third-party subcontracting firm which will then supply the manpower you need. Various employment agencies provide such services but it is often best to turn to specialist subcontracting suppliers if you require high-quality people with certain key skills.

Subcontractors make for very good temporary members of the workforce. For one, they are often used to operating in ways they suit their clients’ needs and can often act as if they were an employee rather than the subcontractor they really are. Equally, it is possible for subcontracting firms to supply multiple workers on the same contract, ideal if you need an extra five people one week and an additional ten the following one, for example.

Paying Temporary Workers

When you pay an employee – someone who is registered on your company’s payroll – you have to pay employer’s contributions to their National Insurance. On top of this, your finance team will need to deduct the employee’s National Insurance Contributions from their pay as well as any income tax that may be due. This is not the case with contractors or subcontractors working on a temporary basis.

This is because contractors – or the subcontracting firm supplying them to you – will invoice you directly for their services. This might be on a per hour basis or it could be once the agreed services have been rendered. Either way, you do not need to concern yourself with tax and salaries. Nor, it should also be mentioned, will you need to offer any form of pension provision as you otherwise might.

In short, this makes hiring temporary workers on a subcontracted basis much easier and more flexible than taking someone one directly as an employee even if their contract is time-limited. Even if you have just one temporary worker working for you, this will save time and money. Indeed, if you have multiple temporary workers under your wing, then the administrative savings can be that much greater.

When is a Temporary Worker Not a Temporary Worker?

If you employ a temporary worker on a short-term contract and pay them from your payroll, then under UK law they are no longer deemed to be temporary after 12 weeks employment have elapsed. This means that temporary workers assume the same employment rights as normal employees including equality in their pay and conditions.

Some employers try to get around this issue by hiring a temp and then reemploying them in another position after the 12 weeks has elapsed. This practice can land you in trouble with employment law especially if the two jobs look suspiciously similar in their scope. More importantly, perhaps, it is simply not a fair way of dealing with people.

If you opt for bank staff to fill temporary positions, then these considerations don’t have to be taken into account. Such workers are effectively employees of the subcontracting firm supplying them to work for you. As such, you will not have to worry about their pay and conditions matching your permanent staff unless you want to take on a temporary worker permanently in the future.

Do you want to know more about using subcontractors for your projects?

We are experts in arranging subcontractors for products worldwide. Learn more about our service here:

More info


About this blog

News and information about the global operation and intermediation of subcontractors.

Posts by categories