With the wave of temp jobs, contract work, internships, and part-time positions, the traditional full-time worker is now part of a greater ecosystem of employment types.

Temporary employment is characterized by the length of time spent working and the scope and details of the work itself.

Whether you’re hiring seasonal staff during the holidays or looking to make a little extra cash, here are the most common types of temporary employment.

Temporary Employees

A temporary employee is an individual hired for a limited time (usually one year or less) to fulfill a temporary role, position, project, or seasonal demand. By hiring temporary workers, businesses can receive extra help when they need it, such as during peak seasons, extended employee absences (like maternity leave), or major projects or events. Businesses can enlist the help of temp-hiring agencies to find temporary workers.

Advantages

If a business uses a temp agency, they have access to an array of skilled workers who most likely have already been screened and vetted for the position they are filling, saving the company valuable recruitment time and money. Temp workers also appeal to businesses because, if arranged with the temp agency, the employer can “try the employee out” for the desired period, then choose to keep them on full time or let them go once their time or duties have come to an end.

Temporary workers benefit from the same workplace protections as regular employees, including health, safety, overtime pay, and minimum wage. There are also laws protecting them against harassment, discrimination, and child labor. The nature of the work may also be valuable to those who need immediate work or a second income.

Disadvantages

While temporary workers provide flexibility to the employer, they still need to be trained like any other new employee.

Temporary workers may experience some disadvantages. For instance, they are not typically given the same fringe benefits (paid holidays, medical insurance, etc.) as other permanent employees.

They also face more instability, meaning that if cuts occur, temporary workers will often be released.

Generally, they cannot be promoted or transferred during their work period unless otherwise stated in their contract. If the employer wishes to hire the temp anyway without prior agreement with an agency, they may have to pay a fee.

Related Documents: Employment Contract

Contractors

Unlike temporary workers, contract workers may work for themselves or under a contracting company and contract their work out to businesses.

Advantages

Businesses may hire contractors for many of the same reasons they hire temporary workers. Still, one of the main reasons they choose to hire a contractor is that they may have specialized skills and are usually experts in their field, which results in a more excellent product or service.

Additionally, contractors handle their own taxes, permits, and benefits, meaning employers don’t have to pay the employment fees associated with a regular employee.

Contractors benefit by controlling their fees, hours, type and number of clients, and workspace. Often, they also retain copyright to their work, unless otherwise specified.

Disadvantages

Employers may find that they don’t have the same control with contractors as they do with temporary and part-time employees, and even interns. While the employer does not have to incur the extra costs of a contractor, they do take on liability, and also have a responsibility to ensure they are classifying contractors correctly or they could end up facing considerable legal consequences.

Contractors may be responsible for paying self-employment taxes, setting aside money for health and medical costs, and keeping records. As well, the work may not be steady if the contractor is unable to market themselves successfully to find clients.

Related Documents: Independent Contractor Agreement

Part-Time Employees

A part-time employee works between 1-34 hours a week, as opposed to a full-time employee who works at least 40 hours a week.

Advantages

Like temporary employment, a part-timer can give employers flexibility, especially in retail or service industries. Part-time workers can take on shifts as needed in the evenings or on weekends when the full-time staff is gone. Employing a part-time worker saves overhead costs and can be less expensive from a wage point of view because they don’t usually earn a salary but rather an hourly wage.

Part-time workers may enjoy the flexibility of their position. It could also fit better with their lifestyle as it promotes work-life balance and is a form of supplemental income. In particular, students, retirees, parents, or those who may have medical limitations may find part-time work to be the best option for their situation.

Disadvantages

If part-timers have more than one part-time job, their focus could be split between both, resulting in a lack of productivity, commitment, or consistency in their work.

Part-time workers don’t usually receive the same benefits as full-timers, which impacts their income and possibly their job satisfaction.

Internships

Companies will often offer internships to graduates or students. Internships give students hands-on work experience in their field of study for a temporary time before joining the workforce.

Internships can be either paid or unpaid and are continually changing. Some courses or universities even require work placement as part of the curriculum.

Advantages

Interns often work for little-to-no pay, which costs an employer nothing in exchange for the extra help. Hiring an intern can also be a form of recruitment to encourage interns to apply for a full-time position.

For interns themselves, the work experience offers a foot-in-the-door type of opportunity that looks good on a resume and allowing them to build skills, network, and gain valuable references. If the business is happy with an intern, they might receive a job offer as well.

Disadvantages

Landing an internship can be challenging with changing economic conditions and an oversaturated market, as there is often a lot of competition.

Secondly, many interns don’t earn much or have the same legal protections as traditional workers, which means they may not have important employment laws to protect their worker rights.

Related Document: Letter of Recommendation

The Trend Towards Temporary Work

Today, employment looks very different than it did many years ago.

Employers can hire workers on an as-needed basis, which gives them the freedom to staff their companies as they wish. Whether it’s hiring seasonal workers to anticipate busy bouts, enlisting the help of a professional consultant to complete a project, or recruiting young talent through internship programs, temporary employment has given employers plenty of options to consider when they need to adjust to business fluctuations.

The modern workplace has redefined employment in many ways. There are full-time permanent jobs where a worker can advance, but also a variety of temporary positions that permit flexibility, work-life balance, and independence.

With each type of temporary position, there are pros and cons for both the worker and the employer. By evaluating your own needs, you can decide what role will be the best fit for you or your company.

Posted by LawDepot

The LawDepot Team consists of professional writers and editors with years of experience researching and writing about a variety of legal topics. LawDepot’s in-house legal team reviews all law-related content to ensure the information we provide is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

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