Christmas is a monumental event for the economy due to the huge surge of increased activity across the majority of businesses, particularly in retail and services, but this usually means that more temporary resources are needed to cover staff absence, fulfil orders and to deal with the overall extra workload.
Hiring extra staff to support the busiest shopping period of the year can be challenging, especially for large employers as this number can be in the thousands. Some businesses may look to zero-hours contracts as they give can provide a huge amount of flexibility about when and how they hire workers without affording the same entitlements conveyed under the agency workers regulations. However, it’s important for employers to remember that in a genuine zero-hours contract this flexibility is vice versa so staff can refuse work if it suits them. Employers need to be fully aware of their responsibilities if they decide to use zero-hours contracts and set out their terms clearly.
Enlisting the help of an agency that is experienced in offering temporary resources is a practical alternative to zero-hours contracts for it can ease the pressure on businesses during the festive season due to the agency having already vetted the workers.
Regulations were introduced in April 2004, which mean employment agencies are responsible for appropriately vetting staff supplied to their clients which includes establishing their identity and that they have the qualifications experience and training necessary to carry out the work.
These regulations can also help in reducing the risk of employee theft, something that can be an issue at Christmas for employers, along with reducing the need and cost of advertising, interviewing and the extra admin work involved in hiring seasonal staff.
An agency will charge a small fee for supplying the temporary cover, which includes the employer’s national insurance, an element of holiday pay and costs of employment. Agency staff 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 (though they are generally not entitled to redundancy pay or able to claim unfair dismissal, which are rights available to contracted employees.)
Talented members of staff, whether temporary or permanent, are an important asset to any business and it’s crucial that the right workers are chosen to meet your business needs. Whether it’s providing extra cover in retail, courier services or manufacturing, using an agency that is experienced in providing the right temporary cover, such as Red WigWam, can help take the stress out of hiring the right temporary resource for Christmas.