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Temporary work: Questions and answers for employers and employees

As specialists in temporary recruitment, we have supported a wide range of businesses and temp workers over the years. Throughout this process, we’ve addressed numerous questions on topics like pay, IR35, compliance and more. 

To assist both employers and workers curious about temporary roles, we’ve compiled a short Q&A guide featuring some of the most commonly asked questions. This guide aims to clarify key aspects of temp hiring and provide valuable insight for both businesses and candidates considering temporary work. 

Questions about hiring a temp worker

1. When is the best time to hire a temp worker? 

Temps can provide a fix for a variety of reasons: during busy or peak seasons, to cover immediate gaps whilst looking at longer term solutions, flexible project support, month/year end, specialised gaps in knowledge/systems, during periods of change and uncertainty, or for sickness cover. 

2. What is the difference between inside IR35 and outside IR35?

IR35 is an anti-avoidance tax legislation implemented by the HMRC. As of April 2021, determining whether a worker is inside or outside IR35 became the responsibility of the end-client (the business employing them). 

If a hire is classed as:

  • Inside IR35: they are considered to be an employee of the business for tax purposes. They will be subject to PAYE and have the same Income Tax and National Insurance deductions as a permanent hire. They are entitled to the same benefits, but do not have the same statutory employment rights.
  • Outside IR35: they are considered to be their own business. As such, they pay themselves a salary, submit the remainder as dividends, and are responsible for completing their own taxes. They are not liable for Income Tax and National Insurance at the same rate as a permanent employee.

3. How is a temp worker paid – and who pays them? 

This can depend on the industry and type of worker. For example, temporary clerical finance and office support workers are often payrolled. There are three types of temp worker that we recruit; temporary, interim and contract.

As a general rule:

  • Temporary worker: Usually paid on an hourly basis 
  • Interim worker: Usually paid on a day rate (or hourly, in some circumstances). 

If the role is inside IR35, they are paid through an accredited umbrella company, or through our recruitment agency. If their role operates outside IR35, they can be paid through a limited company

  • Fixed Term Contract (FTC) worker: Employed and paid directly by the business.

Our specialists can talk you through these options, to ensure a smooth payment process. For more information on the advantages and flexibility of hiring temporary, interim and contract workers, check out our article: The top 5 benefits of hiring a temporary worker.

4. Who handles compliance when hiring?

As an agency, if a temporary employee is on our payroll, we are responsible for all statutory compliance including employment references, proof of right to work and visa status. If any additional checks are required, ie. DBS, credit checking or additional further checks, we will need to be informed ahead of time. 

5. What notice period does an employer need to give a temp worker, when ending the contract?

Notice periods are determined through consultation with both the candidate and client. These notice periods typically range from a minimum of one week, to a maximum of one month. 

Questions about becoming a temp worker

1. Will temporary work look bad on my CV?

This is a common myth which we’ve previously debunked. In reality, temporary work demonstrates your adaptability, ability to complete projects within a set timeframe and exposure to various businesses and industries. This experience can give you an edge over applicants who have only held permanent positions. 

Additionally, if you’ve primarily worked in permanent roles but find yourself out of employment, temporary work can be a great way to maintain an income and bridge any gaps in your CV. 

2. What does it mean if I’m working inside IR35 or outside IR35?

As of April 2021, determining whether your role is inside or outside IR35 became the responsibility of the client who employs you. You’ll be charged taxes differently depending on what your role is classed as.

  • Inside IR35: you are considered to be an employee of the business for tax purposes. Your wage will be subject to PAYE and have the same Income Tax and National Insurance deductions as a permanent hire. You will be entitled to the same benefits as a permanent employee, but do not have the same statutory employment rights.
  • Outside IR35: you are considered to be your own business. As such, you will pay yourself a salary, submit the remainder as dividends, and are responsible for completing your own taxes. You are not liable for Income Tax and National Insurance at the same rate as a permanent employee.

3. Do temporary roles ever become permanent?

Yes, a number of our temporary candidates have transitioned into permanent employment after finding a company culture and work they enjoy. If an employer has the resources to convert your temporary or interim role to a permanent one, they may discuss this option with you.

It’s also worth noting though that many temporary workers prefer temp and interim positions due to the variety and flexibility they offer.  

Work with our temporary recruitment specialists at Distinct

We recruit for temporary, interim and contract roles in finance, HR, office support, and procurement and supply chain

Whether you’re considering hiring a temporary worker into your business or looking for your next temporary job, our specialists will be happy to discuss the current market with you and provide expert advice. Contact us today.

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