Temporary Employees and The Law

by Ellie Patterson

image of reading glasses and a medallion of the scales of justiceMany employers utilize temporary employees in order to handle seasonal business demands, temporary surges, or an extended sick or maternity leave from one or more of their regular permanent employees.

Temporary employees may be hired directly by the employer or through a temporary employment agency such as The Temp Connection. When hired through an agency, the employee is typically paid directly by the agency and the employer is billed by the agency for the temporary services. This arrangement saves the employer much of the expense of on-boarding the employee: advertising, screening, interviewing, skills assessment, etc.

Wages and Hours

Temporary employees are subject to the provisions of the Federal Labor Standards Act1 (FLSA) like any other employee. What this means to an employer is that any temporary employee who works a job that is defined to be “nonexempt” under the FLSA is entitled to overtime bonus pay of 1.5 times their base wage for any hours over 40 hours per week.

Discrimination and Harassment

Generally speaking, a temporary employee is entitled to the same non-discriminatory and harassment-free workplace as any other employee. Temporary employees should be provided access to the same facilities, parking, restrooms, break facilities and business meetings as regular employees.


While a temporary employee is not eligible for benefits under the employer’s benefits plan, many agencies provide their temps with benefits under the agency’s plan. The Temp Connection offers a package of comprehensive benefits for our employees which includes:

  • Medical
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Profit Sharing
  • Referral Bonus
  • Direct Deposit
  • And more


Employers should be aware that certain Federal Laws, like the Family and Medical Leave Act2.3 and the Affordable Care Act,4,5 require companies to abide by provisions of the law after they reach a certain threshold number of employees, typically 50 or more. Generally speaking, the number of temporary employees that an employer uses will count toward that threshold. The laws here are complicated and vary with each individual law so we recommend you do your research and seek the advice of counsel if you have specific questions.

photo of Ellie Patterson, The Temp Connection


Ellie Patterson has been in the staffing industry for twenty-seven years and is a co-founder and partner at The Temp Connection in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached via email at ellie@thetempconnection.com.



  1. FLSA Home Page, http://www.flsa.com/coverage.html
  1. United States Department of Labor, Family and Medical Leave Act, http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
  1. United States Department of Labor, FMLA2003-1-A, http://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FMLA/2004_04_05_1A_FMLA.htm
  1. gov, “About The Law,” http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-law/index.html
  1. Shawe Rosenthal LLP, The Labor and Employment Report, “The Affordable Care Act Complicates the Use of Temporary Employees,” http://www.laboremploymentreport.com/2015/05/22/the-affordable-care-act-complicates-the-use-of-temporary-employees/


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