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Tips for hiring temporary staff

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for many businesses, and with the festive season fast approaching, you may be thinking about hiring some temporary staff. But where should you go to find temporary staff and how does employing temporary workers affect your legal responsibilities as an employer?

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Christmas is the busiest time of the year for many businesses, and with the festive season fast approaching, you may be thinking about hiring some temporary staff to cover staff absence, fulfil orders, or help you manage an increase in workload. But where should you go to find temporary staff and how does employing temporary workers affect your legal responsibilities as an employer?

Use an agency who will provide workers either on a daily basis or for a specified period of time. Employer's national insurance is included in the rate that the agency charges along with their admin fees. It will also include an element of holiday pay and costs of employment. An agency worker is usually considered to be a ‘worker' rather than an employee but should receive all the same employment rights, such as paid holiday, rest breaks and limits on working time, the National Minimum Wage and no unlawful deductions from their wages. You should also be aware that, if you intend to keep agency workers on for 12 weeks or longer, they will become entitled to other rights.

It is a legal requirement to issue all employees with a contract within 60 days of employment commencing. Members can contact the Forum helpline on 0845 130 1722 for advice on contracts.

Workers are generally not entitled to redundancy pay or to claim unfair dismissal, which are rights available to employees. If you're looking for someone to work for two or three days per week, it may be more appropriate to employ a worker directly through your own limited company. You must be registered as an employer with HMRC and administer a payroll scheme. PAYE/National Insurance contributions will need to be deducted, payslips prepared and various returns made to HMRC. Temporary workers who are directly employed should be paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage. They will also be entitled to a minimum of 28 days holiday pay including statutory/bank holidays paid on a pro rata basis and these accumulate from the first day of employment. Direct employees will also be entitled to maternity/paternity leave, statutory sick pay and other employment rights.

If you choose to use a self-employed contractor for your temporary solution you need to obtain evidence that they are registered with HMRC and keep a record of their national insurance number and address. If you are in doubt regarding the self-employed status of a contractor who represents themselves as being self employed (and is therefore hoping to be paid without deduction of tax), it is very important that you seek professional advice or obtain clearance from HMRC, prior to making any payments to them otherwise HMRC can seek payment from you of the PAYE and National Insurance together with interest and penalties. If you choose a contractor who operates through his own limited company, then you can accept their company invoices for gross payment, without deduction of any taxes. VAT can be recovered if they are registered for VAT, unless you are operating the flat rate VAT scheme. In case of HMRC enquiries a copy of their Certificate of Incorporation and VAT certificate should be obtained.

To find out the Forum can help you manage the recruitment process and stay on the right side of the law, call us on 0845 130 1722.

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