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Employing temporary summer staff

What are my options?

Q:  I run a pub and have a number of staff going on holiday during the summer break. I don’t want to end up over staffed when they return and so am looking at employing temporary staff, but am not sure if this is a good idea?

A:  Many businesses will look to employ temporary staff to meet demand during busy periods or to cover permanent staff whilst on holiday. The advantage of doing this is that they are employed on a short-term basis to work when required, but you do not need to continue to employ them during quieter periods or when permanent staff return to work. 

Before you employ a temporary worker you should consider whether you want to recruit and employ them yourself or whether to go through an agency – there are advantages and disadvantages to both. 

Employing the member of staff directly is more cost effective as you do not have to pay the agency and you have more control over the employee. However, it does then mean that after being employed for 12 weeks they have the same rights as a permanent employee, are entitled to either the national living or minimum wage and paid holiday leave. 

The advantage of using an agency to employ them is that the majority of the liability for the employee lies with the agency. If you want liability for the employee to lie with the agency you should ensure that there is a clear contract between you and the agency, the agency have a contract of employment with the worker and is responsible for paying any wages, national insurance, tax and holiday/sick pay. You should also ensure that you do not request a specific staff member, but allow the agency to provide any available individual. 

Whilst the above is a summary regarding employing temporary workers, it is a very complex area and so you may need to seek independent legal advice before recruiting.

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