Thursday, 18 May 2006

More rights for temporary staff

Shropshire companies must take care when it comes to employing temporary staff, a local solicitor has warned.

John Mehtam, of Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, Telford, said recent court judgements had strengthened the rights of such employees, which could cause real problems.

“This new position may make it very difficult for employers who want to go through agencies and take on temporary workers.

“There is always the risk, particularly where someone has worked for your company for a considerable length of time on a temporary basis, that the court may decide you have an implied contract of employment with them.

“This means they could be entitled to employment rights where previously these were limited.

“So you will no longer be free to take people on as temporary workers and be fully confident that you won’t be found liable for unfair dismissal if the relationship comes to an end.

“This is despite the fact that the law actually says unfair dismissal claims can only be brought by employees with a contract.”

John said employers would need to be extremely careful and define the relationship with the temporary or contract worker as soon as possible.

“You will need to agree at the outset that there will be no possibility of a contract between your company and the temporary worker, no matter how the situation develops or how long they work for you.

“In this way, you should be able to protect your company and still reap the benefits of employing temporary staff when you need them.”