With uncertainty still a major business concern, many companies are tiptoeing back into the employment market by hiring temporary workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of temporary employees — including independent contractors, on-call candidates, freelancers, and other temporary or part-time workers — exceeds two million people in the United States. The skills of such workers often extend far beyond traditional clerk and bookkeeping roles. For example, temporary employees might include chief financial officers, nurses, lawyers, accountants, information technology professionals, manufacturing technicians, and retail staff.
The advantages of hiring temporary staff can be significant. If a key marketing manager goes on maternity leave or your resident techie packs her bags, you may be able to find a temporary worker to fill the gap. Accepting an employee on a temporary basis allows you to evaluate that person’s skills, performance, personality and general “fit” with your company before making a permanent offer of employment. In addition, recruiting/employment agencies often test an employee’s skills, perform background checks, verify employment history, and handle payroll expenses, withholding taxes, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation. In most cases, you won’t provide a benefits package for temporary staff, so such employees may cost less over the short term. However, be aware that agencies often charge commissions in addition to hourly rates and may charge a separate fee if the temporary worker is hired permanently.
If you’re considering the temporary employee option for your business, here are a few suggestions.
- Check out the agency. If possible, find an employment/recruiting agency that understands your business and specializes in the kinds of staff you need. Discuss your goals and nail down all pertinent contract provisions including benefits (if any) to be paid, who will make final hiring decisions, and how contracts will be terminated.
- Prepare detailed job descriptions. Your temporary worker should know what’s expected upfront. For higher level employees, be sure to discuss and document the scope of his or her responsibilities, payment terms, and confidentiality agreements.
- Know their rights. Temporary workers fall under many of the same laws as full-time employees, including statutes against discrimination and harassment. So take care to provide the same kind of work environment for all of your employees — whether permanent or temporary.
For assistance with this or any of your business concerns, contact our office.
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