Temporary or Casual Employment

Temporary work, as the term implies, is when the employee is expected to leave after a specified period of time or after the completion of a particular project. These workers are also referred to as contractual workers, seasonal workers or temps. The task that they are hired to do will decide the hours that they work, some will work full time and others only part time. In most cases temporary workers aren’t entitled to any benefits but in certain fortunate instances the temp will receive the same treatment as that of the permanent workers. A lot of temporary workers find their jobs through temporary work agencies that have a great many contacts in the business world and an established reputation, which can make finding a job easier. But not all temps go that route; many jobs can be found in your local classifieds, on the Internet or even posted up at your local supermarket.

A temp agency can be differentiated from a recruitment firm by the type of employees that it places. Recruitment firms place permanent employees. Overlaps can occur, however, when temporary workers become permanent or when permanent workers start out on a temporary basis.

The function of the temporary work agency is to find and retain workers so that when other companies, in need of short-term workers, contact the agency, the agency has a list of candidates that it can choose from to send over. Temp workers are also useful in cyclical or seasonal work that requires the staff levels be adjusted often. An agency might specialise in a particular field such as the medical field, IT or secretarial work. Some agencies even specialise in providing handy men for odd jobs.

When an applicant has his or her first interview with a temporary agency, he or she will have to complete a set of competency tests to judge the standard of skills. This is especially necessary in the secretarial field. Once the results are known, they are entered into a database. When a company wants to hire someone with a specific set of skills, the agency looks it up in the database and contacts the most likely employee to see if they are interested in the position.

Once the employee agrees to an assignment, she or he will receive instructions relating to the job e.g. work appropriate clothing, work hours, wages, and who to report to. If there are any problems at all, for instance if the employee is asked to perform duties not described to him or her, she or he must call the agency and speak to a representative. They have the option of not continuing with the assignment but they may lose future employment opportunities through that agency.

Temporary employees are never sure how long a job will last or when their next job will come along. It is their responsibility to remain in contact with their agency when they are unemployed, continuously reminding the agency that they are available. In this way they are likely to be given priority when jobs come in over those who did not appear quite as eager to work.

Despite the uncertainties that accompany temporary employment, there are some benefits to be gained from seeking the help of a temporary work agency, they include: 1) easy hire – if the type of work that you are looking for has technical requirements and you are recommended by an agency, you are almost guaranteed the job without the selection process. 2) Flexible hours – you may be able to choose which shifts you want to work, you can take weekends off, go off for holidays, or take time off for personal appointments, you can also choose to work these days for extra money. 3) Wages for temporary workers are sometimes higher than the wages for a permanent worker in a similar post. 4) You are less likely to be fired than if you were in a permanent position, although the company has the right to ask the agency not to send you back for any other assignments.

The disadvantages to going through temporary agencies include: 1) no benefits like health insurance. 2) Reduced liability protection. Without liability insurance temp workers can be held accountable for any errors that result in damage and can be sued for negligence. 3) Lack of references as most employers don’t consider the work period long enough to warrant a recommendation on a resume.

For its advantages and disadvantages temporary work is a lifestyle that either suits you or it doesn’t. Some people really enjoy the freedom to simply pack up and go on a two month trip to the Andes before coming back to earn more money to do it all again in Tibet. Some people crave more stability in their lives, the constant uncertainty and financial worry is too much for them. Some people do it when they are young and in their early twenties and then settle down to a more permanent lifestyle in their thirties. Some people never settle down. The nice thing about living in this day and age is that no matter which category you fall under, no matter which choice you make, the world caters for you.

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