From time to time, your business may need to hire temporary workers. Potentially due to staff shortages, or a busy season during Christmas.

However, it’s not just a case of hiring them and paying a wage whenever you feel like it.

There are employment laws to keep in mind—these ensure you meet the employment rights for temporary workers.

Doing so will also ensure your business remains compliant with Irish regulations. Our guide explains everything you need to know.

What is a temporary worker?

It’s a term in employment law that describes staff members who are working on a, you guessed it, temporary basis.

Ultimately, you’re hiring someone who’ll only be with your business for a set time.

However, you can’t treat them any way you see fit. You must respect their employment rights—and we explain what these are below.

Do temporary workers have rights?

Yes—day one statutory rights. That’s the likes of discrimination protection and the National Minimum Wage.

For every working week they “accrue”, that goes towards the qualifying period.

There are temporary contract rights you must take into consideration. These involve:

  • Pay: They must receive at least the national minimum wage—and they have entitlements to statutory sick, maternity, paternity, and adoption pay.
  • Hours: You can establish these before the individual starts with you. They can have rest breaks—plus, you must remember to not overwork them. They have the right to rest, which is:
    • 11 hours every 24 hours.
    • A day off for a week of work.
    • The right to work a total of 48 hours every week.
  • General treatment: The temporary worker has the right to various miscellaneous benefits. For example, you must inform them of vacancies in your business. They can use the normal facilities other employees do. And you must respect their health & safety wellbeing—and you mustn’t discriminate against protected characteristics: 
    • Age.
    • Disability.
    • Gender reassignment.
    • Marriage and civil partnership.
    • Pregnancy and maternity.
    • Race.
    • Religion or belief.
    • Sex.
    • Sexual orientation.

Remember, if you do treat any member of staff unfairly or in an illegal way, it can result in an employment tribunal claim.

Temporary worker’s holiday rights

Just to make it clear, yes they have the right to time off for their holidays—with pay.

They have the statutory entitle to 5.6 weeks of holiday each year.

So, they have entitlement to a maximum of 28 holidays a year—that’s pro-rata.

As for paying them during this time, it’s accrued at a rate of 12.07% of gross pay. So, for this reason they (and your business) should make sure to document all of the time they work.

What about pensions?

Just to note, temporary workers are automatically enrolled into an agency’s pension. That’s within three months of the start of a contract.

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