Temporary Employees and Workers Comp: What You Need to Know

Taking on temporary employees is attractive to businesses because they don't have to pay full time wages or provide benefits either. There are many risks to taking on these employees though, and some aren't well known until you're faced with a problem. You don't have a chance to really check out their qualifications, and you're setting them up in an environment where they have to be more or less ready to start the job at the moment they arrive. Even if the have experience in similar situations, your company still has its own quirks and hazards. This increases the likelihood they'll make a mistake. So what do you need to know about protecting yourself when you're in need of a little extra help?

The truth of the matter is that when an employee is on your premises, then you are responsible for them. However, if you hire these workers from a temp agency, it can be argued they actually bear some of the responsibility as well. Recently Taylor Farms and the agencies they hired their workers from were both cited during an emergency situation. Workers faced injuries from chlorine gas and the blame was placed on both Taylor Farms and the temp agencies for not preparing the workers to correctly handle matters. Half of their entire workforce was full of temporary employees, so it stands to reason that many of the workers simply didn't have the time within the organization to go over all of the proper safety security measures for every situation. Again, this is a risk that every company takes who hires temp employees. In California, it's partially on the agency who actually cuts the checks to care for their employee's safety too.

It's a big move around the country to hire lots of temps, but many companies don't report their numbers, making it difficult to know how the system is really working. While some people laud the temp programs as allowing employees and employers to find the best fit before either take the real plunge, it actually seems more likely that employers would simply rather save on benefit costs and the hassle of firing an employee and risking some sort of unfair treatment claim. Because temps are often left in the dark about how long they'll be able to keep their job, they're often in the dark about what their rights are as well.

Your best bet before you hire temporary workers is to go through an agency you trust and to treat them as fairly as possible. Ensure you know the safety precautions the agency takes for their employees and how they screen the people they recommend. If you can, go through a formal interview process with the employee so you can be sure you're limiting your liability as well.
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Further Reading
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