Temporary Employment in the UK

Temporary employment or "temping" in the UK: where to find a short-term or temp job, and what to expect...

There are numerous employment agencies across the UK through which temporary and seasonal work can be found. Anyone who has the right to work in the UK can sign up with a "temping" agency (or "recruitment agency") to find temporary employment.

The company that hires the employee through the agency must pay a fee to the agency, which in turn, pays the employee's wages. The agency has to pay the employee even if the hiring company fails to pay the agency. A contract is drawn up between the agency, the employer and the employee.

Owing to agency commissioning fees, "temps" may initially be paid significantly less than permanent employees of the country. However, the agency is legally obliged to provide a temp with the same pay and conditions as a directly hired employee. Temps are entitled to paid holiday leave, but are rarely entitled to sick pay through a company policy. Most temporary contracts permit instant or short-notice dismissal or resignation.

  • For more information about the rights of temporary workers from GOV.UK: Click here

Temporary work can be divided into three categories:

  1. Temping - a non-fixed term basis which can last for any length of time from one day to months. It can be part-time or full-time.
  2. Contracting - contractors are employed on a fixed term basis.
  3. Interim work - temporary work for senior professionals.

There are many temp agencies in the UK, and most small towns will have a number of agencies that recruit actively in the local area. Some of the main agencies are:

Temp jobs are also routinely advertised on major online job boards. For more information on these, see the Angloinfo Guide "Finding Work"