Whether you’re just getting started in the workforce or looking to make a career change, temping can be a great opportunity to build up experience, make valuable connections and get your foot in the door of a new sector or organisation.

We hear of so many success stories where people have found roles or sectors they love, all thanks to temping! But before you make the leap to temporary work, there are a few key things you should know. Our latest top tips are here to help:

How to calculate your hourly rate

One of the first questions you’ll be asked when it comes to considering temporary opportunities is what your hourly rate expectations are. If you haven’t worked before, or are coming from a salaried role, this is going to require a bit of calculating to determine a suitable rate that will meet your needs.

There are some great calculators online to help you figure out how to translate your permanent salary into an hourly rate:
PAYE Calculator

If you’re really stuck, don’t be afraid to ask around and enquire about job listings that interest you to get a sense of where you should be pitching yourself.

What are you entitled to as a temp?

While temping offers great flexibility and in some cases a “try before you buy” opportunity in a new role, the biggest difference between a temporary role and a permanent one is job security. There’s no guarantee that a temp role will lead to a permanent opportunity, and due to the nature of temporary employment contracts, you’ll likely have much shorter notice that your assignment is coming to an end. The upside of this is you have more control over when you work – want to take an extended break over summer? Temping gives you the ability to pick and choose your own availability.

Otherwise, temps have the same entitlements as permanent employees. You’ll still get annual leave (known as holiday pay for temps) and sick leave, however in most cases you’ll need to accrue them before you can use them. Temps are also paid for public holidays if it’s a day you would’ve ordinarily worked.

Holiday pay for a temp is calculated at 8% of your hourly rate and is typically paid out to you at the end of your assignment unless you request to use it beforehand (and have accrued enough to do so).

As a temp, you’ll likely need to complete a timesheet in order to be paid. To avoid any delays with your pay coming through, make sure you understand the instructions for timesheets and the approval process, as each organisation or recruitment agency may do things a little differently.

Temp or Fixed Term?

These two terms are technically the same thing from a legal perspective, however you will find that employers may use one over the other depending on the circumstances.

Fixed term roles are exactly that – they have a set end date or finish once a particular piece of work is completed, which must be stipulated in your contract. Often a fixed-term role will not require you to fill out a weekly timesheet, but again it’s really important that you understand the requirements and process for any new assignment you take on, so don’t be afraid to ask if it’s not made clear.

Temp roles tend to be a little more open-ended, for example covering a role while a permanent position is being recruited, filling a gap while someone is on extended leave, or seasonal roles that can be hard to put an exact finish date on.

Both fixed term and temporary assignments can be extended as long as both parties agree, and this must be confirmed in writing.

Who’s my employer as a temp?

If you’re going through a recruitment agency and working for one of their clients, it’s likely that you’ll be on the recruitment agency’s payroll and technically their employee. In this case, for day to day work you will report to your Manager at your assignment, however for any HR or employment issues this would need to go through the recruitment agency that placed you in the role.

Can I be fired as a temp?

The simple answer is yes. Even though you may have a set end date for your temporary role, in cases of serious misconduct, contract breaches, poor performance or a change in circumstances (i.e. the project you’re working on has been completed earlier than anticipated), the employer can choose to end your assignment early.

The employer will still need to give you notice regardless of what kind of contract you’re on (unless the situation merits an immediate dismissal), so make sure you take note of what’s in your contract.

Can I quit a temp job?

If your circumstances change and you can no longer continue with a temporary assignment, you’ll need to check your employment agreement to ensure you provide the correct notice. Most temporary roles have shorter notice periods than permanent ones and in some situations you may be able to finish right away, but this is not a given, so it pays to be aware of what your employee obligations are before you hand in your notice!

Temp or Contract?

It’s important to note that temping and contracting are different, particularly when it comes to your entitlements, so you’ll need to understand this when considering shorter term work opportunities. If you’re interested in contracting, keep an eye out for our next blog that will cover off everything you need to know or visit the Employment NZ Website.

Interested in giving temporary work a go? You can find our current vacancies here. Want to be part of our temp pool? Get in touch with the team on 04 499 1069 or admin@mclaren.co.nz so that we can keep you in the loop regarding new temporary and fixed-term opportunities.

Good luck,
Kirsty and Nikki

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