05 Aug Do You Know Temporary Employees’ Rights?
More and more companies are fulfilling short-term needs with temps and independent contractors. This can be a great way to meet your staffing needs efficiently – say, for seasonal work or if you want to hire conservatively as you grow your company.
But just because you’re not their employer, doesn’t mean that you don’t have certain obligations. The commitments are reasonable and do not have to be an onerous task that should discourage you from using staffing agencies – just be aware that you do have some responsibilities.
Five things you should know about temporary employees’ rights:
1. Be fair. Temporary employees have the same protections as traditional employees under federal and state equal employment opportunity laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means you cannot discriminate or harass employees on the basis of race, gender and other protected areas, and disabled temps must be accommodated in the workplace (though you can share this responsibility with the staffing agency).
2. Overtime counts. Temporary employees’ rights also extend to protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means that, except for workers who fall under one of the exemptions, temps generally must be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours in one week.
3. Stay safe. Both staffing agencies and their temporary employer clients can be held responsible for hazardous working connections. Regulations issued by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) protect temps as well as regular employees. For example, a temporary worker who falls off a forklift and is injured could bring a claim against both the temp agency and the business where he was assigned.
[bctt tweet=”OSHA regulations also can levy penalties if temporary workers are not given sufficient training before starting a short-term job.”]
4. Get taxes paid. Temporary agencies are responsible for paying employment taxes to the IRS on behalf of their temp employees. But if they don’t, the company who they worked for in a temp capacity can be held liable. So be sure to confirm that the staffing agency is up to date on their tax payments for their workers.
5. Don’t worry. While you do have obligations under the above laws, hiring temporary employees can still be an incredibly smart way to run your business. Generally, you don’t have to worry about vacation days, severance packages and similar employer responsibilities. And a good staffing agency will partner with you to help protect you from unexpected liabilities.
In most cases, temporary employment arrangements are a good opportunity for both the worker and the company. These obligations are addressed in the natural flow of doing business – training employees and keeping them safe just make sense, and most are aware of laws protecting people from discrimination. So all that is really required is just treating your temporary hires like your permanent ones – fairly and safely.