What is a Temporary Staff/ Agency Staff Agreement?

Amber AkhtarAmber Akhtar
Last updated on:
July 11, 2022
Published on:
July 11, 2022

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Employers may recruit workers in a variety of ways, this may include on a temporary basis. But what actually does it mean to be a ‘Temporary Worker’? 

What is a Temporary Worker? 

Temporary Workers’ can be referred to as seasonal staff, contractual workers, casual staff, interim staff or freelancers. 

A Temporary Worker is someone who works on a temporary basis for an employer for a specific and limited amount of time. Temporary Workers may also be:

  • employees who are engaged directly for a short period 
  • casual workers
  • agency workers supplied by an employment agency
  • self employed workers engaged for a short period

Temporary Workers’ may be employed on a full time or part time basis although this depends on the individual requirements for the role. In some instances Temporary Workers’ may be entitled to benefits, but usually this is reserved for permanent employees. 

What rights are you entitled to as a Temporary Worker?

The rights a Temporary Worker may be entitled to depend on:

  • his/her employment status
  • whether they meet the definition of a ‘worker’
  • have completed any form of continuous employment needed for a particular right

What rights are Temporary Workers’ entitled to from the start? 

  • They must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group. 
  • Protection from discrimination. 
  • At least 5.6 weeks of holiday entitlement. 
  • The right to access the same shared facilities as an employee which may include a canteen, childcare services or a car park. 

What rights do Temporary Workers have after 12 weeks?

If the Temporary Workers works in the same organisation under the same assignment for at least 12 weeks’ they will have achieved the ‘12-week minimum qualifying period’ as per the law. This allows them the right to:


This includes being paid the National Minimum Wage, to not have any unlawful deductions from pay, be paid on time and receive a payslip. After 12 weeks the Temporary Worker is entitled to the same rate of pay as a direct employee at the same organisation, this is ‘the right to equal treatment to pay’ under the law. This includes 

  • Holiday pay that is more than the legal pay 
  • Performance related bonuses
  • Commission 
  • Overtime pay


After 12 weeks, the Temporary Worker is entitled to the same amount of holiday and holiday pay as a direct employee at the organisation. 

Sick leave

Temporary Workers’ have the right to not work when they are unwell and be paid Statutory Sick Pay if eligible. However, Temporary Workers are not entitled to the same amount of sick pay as a direct employee at the organisation. 

Access to apply for permanent job vacancies within the organisation 

The organisation must allow you the same access to permanent vacancies as direct employees at the organisation. 

Parental leave

Temporary Workers’ have the right to be treated fairly when taking parental leave for maternity or pregnancy. After 12 weeks’ they are entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments or unpaid time off to attend an antenatal appointment with a partner who is pregnant. 

Working Hours and Rest Breaks

Temporary Workers are entitled to not work more than 48 hours a week or to work more by opting out of the 48 hour week. 

When working more than 6 hours they are entitled to a 20 minute break, a solid 12 hour rest in any 24 hour period and at least 1 day off work each week. 

After 12 weeks’ they have the right to the same working patterns and rest breaks as direct employees at the organisation. 

Businesses/employers must ensure Temporary Workers’ are provided with the same level of heath and safety protection as permanent employees/permanent staff. 

What Legislation governs Temporary Workers’?

The key legislation that governs Temporary Workers’ is the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/93), this came into force on 1 October 2011 and implemented the EU Agency Workers Directive, and the Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which came into force on 6 April 2020.

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What Agreement is required? 

Whether or not the worker is temporary or permanent, employers should ensure they have an employment agreement in place. Temporary Workers may be engaged by the employer directly or through a temporary staffing agency. 

A Temporary Worker agreement is made between an Employment Business and a temporary staffing Agency, where the staffing agency is engaged to find temporary staff. The agreement will include:

  • The rights and obligations of the organisation looking to hire a Temporary Worker
  • The rights and obligations of the temporary staffing agency who will find a Temporary Worker
  • The role the organisation is recruiting for and any necessary skills or qualifications required
  • When the Temporary Worker will be required to start, the work location and the likely duration of the assignment
  • Once the temporary staffing agency has identified a potential Temporary Worker it will provide the organisation with details of the individuals identity, what skills and qualifications he/she possesses relevant to the role, the charges and whether the individual is interested in the role. 
  • There may be a requirement by the temporary staffing agency for the Temporary Worker to complete timesheets, this will be included in the written terms. 
  • A detailed description of the charges, how they are calculated and how they are payable. 
  • Whether a transfer fee is payable to the temporary staffing agency and the situations this might be payable under. 
  • Whether any suitability checks should be carried out. 
  • What happens if the Temporary Worker is not suitable
  • How the agreement may be terminated. 
  • An IP, Confidentiality and Data Protection clause. 
  • Standard contractual boilerplate clauses such as jurisdiction, third party rights or collective agreement clause. 

But why would a business want to recruit Temporary Workers’?

Employers would prefer to employ someone as a Temporary Worker rather than a fixed term employee as Temporary Workers’ offer a cost-effective way to replace permanent workers when they are on maternity/paternity leave, annual leave or sickness. In some cases Temporary Workers’ may be paid more, or less, this depends on the necessity of the job and skills required. In any case, the employer would not be required to offer the company paid benefits offered to permanent staff (unless the law requires).

Businesses can be flexible when considering the number of staff required, it can be increased or decreased on short notice. 

Businesses are also able to assess the whether the Temporary Worker is suitable for the role, much like a probationary period but on a more flexible basis. 

By using a temporary staffing agency, businesses will have the peace of mind the Temporary Worker has been assessed for the role and is suitable.

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