Engaging Temporary & Short-Term Workers

Keeping with COVID-19 theme, Emma a Solicitor at Norris Ward McKinnon takes you through engaging temporary and short term workers. 

If you require more information on this topic and are a member you can call 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) and speak to one of our legal experts. This is a member only service.

  • There may be instances where an employer needs to engage a temporary or short term worker, for example: if their workers are currently overseas and are having trouble getting back, or are prevented from working because they or someone they’re caring for are unwell.  
  • Temporary or short term workers should either be engaged as a fixed-term or a casual worker. There are differences between the two. 
  • A fixed-term worker is employed for a specific period of time, with their employment ending on either a specific date or the completion of a specific project. There needs to be genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds for employing a fixed-term worker and the worker must know about the reasons at the outset of the employment relationship. 
  • A casual worker is employed “as and when required” and each engagement is a new and separate period of employment. A casual worker has no guaranteed hours, no regular work pattern and no expectation of work. A casual worker can also decline work if they are offered work.  
  • Because of the current environment, a fixed-term engagement will be preferable and this is likely to be considered a genuine reason and reasonable. 
  • If an employer has a worker whose return is unknown, they could adopt a “project-based” approach, with the project concluding once the worker can return. 
  • If the fixed-term is less than 12 months, with the worker’s agreement, the employer can pay 8% of their gross pay in each pay cycle.