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Knowing Your Temporary Worker Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 8 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Knowing Your Temporary Worker Rights

There are many different reasons why you might find yourself as a temporary workers. It may be that you have been struggling to find permanent work or a waiting for the right job to come up. Or maybe it is a conscious decision as you plan to go travelling or want to work on other projects or be around for your children. Whatever you reasons are, it is important that you know your rights a temporary worker.

Holiday Rights

Holiday leave is the area where employers have usually tried to fleece temporary workers. However, there is legislation is place to say that temporary workers are entitled to holiday pay from the day that they start work. You need to be aware of this as some agencies will factor it into your hourly rate and you need to make sure they are clear about how much they are paying you in wages and how much of it is holiday pay. Every worker, whether permanent or temporary, is entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday each full year worked.

Universal Rights

Everybody who takes on paid work is entitled to receive the national minimum wage for all the hours that they work and must not have any unlawful deductions taken from their pay. You can also not be made to work more than 48 hours a week unless you choose to do so. If you are required to operate any heavy or dangerous machinery then you must be given proper training and your health and safety must be looked after. In addition to this, you have the same protection against discrimination as permanent workers would.

Sick Pay and Maternity Pay

Sick Pay and maternity leave is a bit of a grey area for temporary workers. If you have been working for the same employer for over three months then you are entitled to statutory sick pay. When it comes to maternity rights, these are a bit more complicated.

Temporary workers are entitled to maternity pay as long as you have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before your baby is due and have earned at least £107 a week. However, you employers do not have to give temporary workers maternity leave and there is no obligation to keep their role open for them.

What You Need To Know About Dismissal

Again, the rules about unfair dismissal are a bit fuzzy when it comes to temporary workers. If you have been working for the same employer for over a year then you can claim for unfair dismissal but there may also be some loopholes that can help you claim before this time, for example if you are let go because you are pregnant.

Just because you are a temporary worker doesn’t mean you don’t have any rights, although they will be different to those of permanent workers. You are still entitled to receive minimum wage, holiday pay and have the same health and safety and discrimination protection. You may not be able to claim sick pay or maternity pay but try and get all these points covered so you are clear about them when you start work.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi I've been working for motherwell community trust throughcommunityjobs Scotland I got given a 6 month contract wichor I've completed on the 30thouse of april I was granted another 6 months extended contractand I have becomesick with chicken pox am I entitledto sick pay as I really can't afford to be of from work ?
Danielle - 8-Apr-17 @ 4:08 PM
Moira - Your Question:
I work for a Scottish University as a temporary worker, not through an agency but though an 'in-house' department that recruits temp staff within the university.University staff get 34 days annual leave per year but I have been told that I only get 28 under my contract. My contract also states that I cant take annual leave until the end of my contract and could take it then or be paid out for my annual leave. My first contract was a year long so I couldn't take any annual leave until December. It really affected my health and I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the year. I feel this policy is really unfair and detrimental to health. I thought temporary workers are entitled to the same rights as permanent staff? Am I wrong?

Our Response:
Employers must not treat workers on fixed-term contracts less favourably than permanent employees. This means theoretically you are entitled to the same pay and conditions as permanent staff and/or the same or equivalent benefits package. The term ‘objective justification’ is the company's only legal reasoning not to adhere to this. However it would need to prove there is a good reason to treat a contract employer differently. Therefore, you would have to give ACAS a call to see if your employers are working within the legal guidleines. I hope this helps.
WelfareAtWork - 2-Dec-15 @ 11:32 AM
I work for a Scottish University as a temporary worker, not through an agency but though an 'in-house' department that recruits temp staff within the university. University staff get 34 days annual leave per year but I have been told that I only get 28 under my contract. My contract also states that I cant take annual leave until the end of my contract and could take it then or be paid out for my annual leave. My first contract was a year long so I couldn't take any annual leave until December. It really affected my health and I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the year. I feel this policy is really unfair and detrimental to health. I thought temporary workers are entitled to the same rights as permanent staff? Am I wrong?
Moira - 1-Dec-15 @ 3:32 PM
I've been in my temporary role for two years - the dept is merging with another which means a restructuring. There will be one role but there are currently two people on fixed contracts doing the same job - and I have been told they will be offered an interview and then if they don't take it I could apply- do I have any rights as a long term temp to be able to apply for it now?
RJ - 30-Nov-15 @ 6:26 PM
My husband has been working for a company called Helping Hand in Hereford.Initiallyhe started with an agency then was employed on a temporary contract.His line manager has told him and other staff that he has to take 3 days holiday in July as the company will be doing a stock takeand they will not be required.They are however keeping two agency staff on to undertake this task.Can he be forced to take holiday??Also when being offerred the job the company and the line manager were fully aware that he had suffered quite a major heart attack 18 months prior.He feels that the line manager deliberatly stretching his capabilities and that she is trying to force him to leave.Other members of staff have also commented on how differently she treats him.My husband has been advised by another supervisor not to complain because she would ensure that he loses his job - what can we do??
Beany - 3-Jun-15 @ 3:07 PM
I have been working for a company for over a year. Nearly 90% of the time in Labs, where the hourly wage is more. I have asked about it to my supervisor and they have said because I am bank worker im only get the minimum wage!. Plus because I also work for the same company at a second place of work at night I have no rights to get PPE from the first place of work. Yesterday I spoke with my supervisor again, they said the wage would be paid but not the PPE. Today I contacted the Manager to ask about back payment. they said they would look into it. but no PPe as I don't work enough hours in the first place of work. What are my rights?.
Ossie - 24-Sep-14 @ 1:34 PM
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