Last reviewed 20 November 2019

With Christmas soon approaching, hiring temporary staff may be necessary to keep operations functional. Andrew Willis, senior manager at Croner’s Litigation and Employment department details what organisations should consider before hiring provisional employees during a busier period.

If there are non-temporary roles or talent gaps that need to be filled, this is a great opportunity to occupy them, especially since the interim staff could become permanent, dependent on their contract type.


The most efficient and effective way of recruiting is by working with an agency as this often saves organisations time and ensures top quality candidates. Organisations will often provide a job description as well as the duration of the employment.

Different contract types

The employment contract should make it clear that the position is temporary. Typically, these types of contracts need to be more flexible as workers may be required to come into work on short notice. For temporary staff, the two main types will most likely be:

  • agency worker

  • fixed-term contracts.

Agency workers

Organisations should be aware of agency workers’ rights. Agency workers receive paid annual leave, rest breaks, standard health and safety at work protection, and are eligible for the National Minimum Wage. Additionally, they are protected from unlawful wage deductions and discrimination.

As of April 2020, agency workers will need to be provided with a “key facts” document. This should include:

  • the type of contract they are employed under

  • the expected minimum rate of pay and how they’ll be paid

  • whether fees will be deducted if paid through an intermediary

  • an estimate setting out their take-home pay.

Fixed-term contracts

A fixed-term contract will state that the individual has a contract that ends on a specific date or on the completion of a specific project.

Fixed-term staff must receive:

  • the same pay and conditions as permanent staff

  • the same or equivalent benefits package

  • protection against unfair redundancy or unfair dismissal (subject to length of service requirements)

  • information about permanent job vacancies within the organisation.

Employers are not required to provide any notice when the contract comes to an end as this should be made clear in their contract.

When does a temporary worker become permanent?

An employee on successive fixed-term contracts for four years or more may automatically become a permanent employee. After four years, you must demonstrate a good business reason not to consider the individual a permanent employee.

Employers are not obliged to offer an agency worker a permanent role at the organisation, even if they have been with the organisation on a long-term placement.

Seek professional advice

For professional advice on dealing with any HR matters, speak to a qualified consultant on 0844 561 8149.