Hiring temps during busy periods? You need to read this first

It might not be as simple as you think

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

The festive period is a key time for many businesses when it comes to bringing in sales. Bars and restaurants are looking forward to the Christmas party season, hotels and hospitality are building up to the Christmas break and retail businesses are hoping for bumper sales over the festive period.

But it isn’t just Christmas, different businesses have different peak periods. Easter, school holidays, summer, the list could go on. But, no matter what the peak period, it is essential businesses plan ahead and are able to operate effectively during this time.

Staffing is one of the key aspects of this planning and it is essential that you have the correct staff cover for these busy times. For many, turning to temporary, or casual staff to help out is the answer. However, when it comes to hiring temporary staff there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of:  

Casual employee rights

Seasonal workers can be classed as ‘fixed-term’ employees due to the fact they have a contract with your organisation and their contract ends on a particular date, or after a specific job is completed.

This means they enjoy the same rights as your company's permanent employees and they must not be treated less-favourably than those employees doing the same job, unless you can show good reason for doing so. This includes:

  • the same pay and conditions
  • the same, or equivalent, benefits
  • information about permanent vacancies in the organisation
  • protection against redundancy or dismissal

Agency workers are slightly different as they don’t work directly for your company and it is the responsibility of the agency to make sure workers get their rights under working time regulations. After 12 weeks’ continuous employment in the same role, agency workers get the same terms and conditions as permanent employees, including pay, working time, rest periods, night work, breaks and annual leave.

Ending the contract early

“Fixed-term contracts will normally end automatically when they reach the agreed end date. The employer doesn’t have to give any notice.” - Gov.uk

However, there may come a situation where you need to end a temporary employee's contract earlier than the specified date. When there isn’t enough work to justify the number of staff for example.

If the contract says nothing about early termination then you may be in breach if you end the contract early, however, if early termination has been set out in the contract then you will need to follow the correct procedures and give employees the minimum notice period.

Working longer than the contract end date

Occasionally you will require some, or even all, of your casual staff to continue working for you after the specified contract end date. In this situation, employers should renew the contract, however in cases where a contract has not been formally renewed there will be an ‘implied agreement’ that the end date has changed.

This does not change the fact you still need to give a minimum notice period if you wish to terminate a fixed-term employee’s contract.

Working out holiday entitlement

All employees are entitled to a minimum annual leave of 5.6 weeks (28 days). For those who don’t work full time, their entitlement is calculated on a pro rata basis, depending on the days or hours worked.

Working out these entitlements, especially if you have a number of part-time or variable hour employees, can be a hassle and it can take up valuable time during the busy period. So, why not get software to take the strain?

How BrightHR can help your business

With BrightHR you can automatically calculate the amount of holiday entitlement employees need to be given based on their contracted hours. If an employee does go over these hours, the contracted figures can be amended to ensure entitlements are accurate and kept up to date.

What’s more, if you need any advice on employment contracts or workers rights, our employment law experts at Bright Advice are on hand to provide you with peace of mind.

Request your free BrightHR demo today or speak to an advisor on 0800 783 2806 to see how Bright Advice can help your business.