New agency staff laws mean it’s time to consider temp work

Joe McDermott | News and Events

From 1 October new laws were introduced to give agency workers similar rights in pay and benefits as their permanent colleagues.

As mentioned, there has been an increasing trend in employers taking on temporary and contract staff over the last couple of years presumably to avoid costly benefits such as sick leave and holiday payments. With an estimated 1.4 million agency workers in the UK this is a lot of savings. However this money saving technique is set to change from October with employers having to grant similar rights to all staff.

New rules dictate that once you have completed 12 weeks service you will be entitled to similar rights including use of a crèche, transport services, internal vacancy opportunities, pay, overtime, shift allowances, holiday pay and bonuses, as well as maternity rights. Not all benefits are included but the changes still make contract work much more attractive.

Some estimate that these changes could cost firms up to £2bn a year and so it is not surprising that employers are getting tougher in their recruitment procedures. Some years ago an agency would meet you and they would decide on your suitability for various roles. However don’t be surprised if you are called for one or even two interviews from each company in order to ensure the right person is picked for the job.

Therefore you need to prepare just as thoroughly as if it were a permanent role and show enthusiasm. Typical questions could be slightly different to the norm and so prepare in advance. Here are just a few examples:

Why are you looking for a contract role?

“I was actually attracted to the diverse nature of the role and your company and so the length of the contract is not an issue. I will be looking at it as a project that I will invest myself in fully.Successful completion of the contract will be a great addition to my CV and hopefully convince you to consider me for future opportunities.”

Where do you see yourself in two years time?

“I aim to expand on my experience over the next two years and hope this role is part of that. I am ambitious and have no doubt that I will still be working within this field,whether it be contract or a permanent role. I do enjoy contract work as it is varied and never dull.”

There are also some excellent questions and answers focused on each industry in the InterviewGold Answer Builder.