Temporary workers, also known as Temps, Part-timers, Interims, have been around for over eight decades globally, both in organized and unorganized sectors. Temps are mainly used to offset resources for a project, to meet steep production demands, for seasonal work, for various leave cover, etc.
In the European countries, temps account for close to 18% of the workforce, prompting some of the member countries such as the UK to accord temps equal rights of what a permanent employee would enjoy.
The impact of COVID-19 on temporary work
Temporary work has suddenly come to the forefront post-COVID-19, due to the mass redundancies of the workforce globally. Such displaced employees got into survival mode to accept long-term jobs at reduced salaries or temporary jobs at whatever salaries. Even labor regulators relaxed the rules of engagement to the extent that temps are now ready to storm and disrupt the organized employment sector.
The risks of temporary work
Circumventing residency or employment laws can have multiple issues. What will be the legal recourse for the employers should there be fraud, data loss, or any misdeeds? What laws will be applicable? Will it be labor, civil, criminal laws, or how about the employee not getting paid, what will protect their rights?
Managing temporary work within a framework and governance model
Temporary work must be managed within a framework and governance model to protect all the stakeholders, especially the employees. The organizations have a choice to directly engage the employee through a formal labor contract or engage a staffing firm to manage this scope.
The benefits of engaging staffing firms
Within the UAE context, the staffing firm will ensure compliance with the residency laws, obtaining a temporary work permit, compliance with the Wage Protection System (WPS), regulated working hours, put an NDA in place, provide health insurance coverage, ensure that the fringe benefits are administered, and last but not least the VAT payments are made. It could also be cheaper as the organization might need to pay the statutory costs only for the actual time utilized as the cost of work-permits for the staffing firm can be amortized over 24 months.
Formal labor contracts and boosting the economy
Formal labor contracts will also help the government to collate data related to the level of employment, underemployment, unemployment, so that appropriate measures and effective strategies can be drawn to boost the economy. Peter Drucker rightly remarked, “what gets measured gets managed”.
Temporary working will be a permanent feature of the employment landscape and is here to stay. Therefore, organizations must refrain from taking ad-hoc decisions to hire temps on informal contracts. Engaging temps through staffing organizations can be compliant, reliable, and their outcomes predictable. As Craig Bruce, the Canadian business tycoon, once said: “temporary solutions often become permanent problems”.