If you're considering a short-term contract, read our guide to everything you need to know about temporary work.

Everything you need to know about Temporary Work

Temporary workers provide vital support to businesses and are always in high demand. Whether it’s to help out on a big project, during a period of change or to provide cover for another employee’s absence, there’s lot of reasons why companies need a flexible workforce. Temporary work is a flexible choice for you to. If you’re not quite sure what you want to do, can’t commit to regular hours or simply need something to start quickly, lots of people choose to start on a temporary basis.

If you’re thinking about temping and want to know more, here’s our complete guide…

What is temporary work?

Temporary work is work on a short-term or ad hoc basis. You might have a fixed-term contract for a set duration – like 6 months maternity cover for example. Or you might be employed on a rolling, week-by-week contract that could last days, weeks or months. 

As a temporary worker, you’ll usually be employed on a ‘contract of service’ rather than a ‘contract of employment’. This will either be with the employer directly or via a recruitment agency. Either way, you’ll still be classed as an ‘employee’ (not self-employed) and given work to do by the employer themselves.

What are the benefits of temporary work?

There’s lots of benefits to temporary work. To start with, you don’t have the long-term commitment like a permanent job. 

That means it’s a great way to develop your skills and gain experience of different types of work or within different companies. Some people see temporary work as a ‘trial run’ – a way to try out a particular job before deciding if it’s right for you.

Plus, if you decide it’s not quite right, you can simply move onto your next assignment. You usually have no or little notice period and short-term assignments are easily explained on your CV. You can use the transferable skills you’ve gained in your next role. Which should be easy to find because, as we’ve said, temps are always in demand!

Temping is also a good option if you only need work for a short period. For example, during the school holidays before you start college or university, or in-between jobs. You might also take on some temporary work to top-up your earnings during seasonal peaks like Christmas.

And don’t forget, it’s not uncommon for temporary assignments to turn into permanent jobs!

How do I find temporary work?

If you want to start temping, you’ll need to make sure you have an attractive CV that will stand out to employers and recruiters. This should showcase the type of skills that will make you an instant match to the job you’re applying for.

Because temporary workers need to start at short notice, there’s often little time to train you up and employers will be looking for applicants who are “ready to go”. You’ll need to demonstrate your willingness to learn and pick things up quickly, as well as highlighting any relevant experience and transferable skills. 

Use your personal profile (at the top of your CV) to explain to employers that you’re looking for temporary work specifically. You should also make it clear the hours you can work, the locations you can get to and the fact that you can start straight away.

Use your CV to create a profile on job boards so that employers and recruiters can find you. Set up job alerts about temporary roles so you can apply as soon as they’re advertised. Make a note of what you’ve applied for, so if you receive a call back you know why they’re ringing.

You might also want to register with local recruitment agencies that specialise in the type of work you’re looking for, such as warehouse or cleaning jobs.

What are my rights as a temporary worker?

As a temp, or agency worker, you still have employment rights even though you’re not a permanent member of staff. 

This means you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage, paid holidays, unpaid parental leave (with conditions), sick pay and a safe working environment. You’re also protected against things like workplace discrimination and unlawful deductions from your wages. You should expect to receive a payslip and be able to used shared facilities, like the staff canteen.

Plus, after 12 weeks, you have the same rights as someone who is permanently employed at the same company doing the same job. 

To find out more about your rights as a temporary worker, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website


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