4th December 2021

Employment Law Advent Calendar: Day 4

It’s the 4th of December and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Look behind door number 4 of my employment law advent calen-deer to find out who or what is there Claus I said so!

It’s a pair of elf shoes.

Remember, the poor elves in Santa’s workshop having to work long hours to keep up with the increase in production? And Santa’s headache trying to stay on the right side of the Working Time Regulation’s 1998? Well, Santa has decided to recruit temporary staff. He needs more elf shoes on the ground and quick, but the fact that it’s the season of goodwill will not excuse him if doesn’t comply with employment laws.

If you, like Santa, are looking to take on temporary staff this Christmas here’s a few things to think about:

  • Temporary staff are employed for only limited periods of time but that doesn’t mean they don’t have employment rights. What rights they do have will depend on whether they are employees or workers (employees have more rights than workers), so be clear about the employment status of your staff from the outset.
  • Both temporary employees and workers are entitled to written statement of particulars, to be paid at least the national minimum wage and to receive payslips, rest breaks and rest periods, and they must not work more than an average 48 hours a week or suffer from unlawful deduction from wages, and have whistleblowing and discrimination protection.
  • Temporary staff are often employed on a fixed-term contract. An employee on a fixed term contract is protected against less favourable treatment compared to permanent employees meaning they must get the same pay and conditions and the same or equivalent benefits package as permanent staff and information about permanent vacancies.
  • Where temporary workers are being retained for 12 weeks or more they qualify for the same rights as someone permanently employed to do the same job.

The simple message is don’t be tempted to treat temporary staff as a cheap alternative to employing permanent employees or you might find yourself on the naughty list.

Make sure you elf a merry little Christmas and contact a member of the Blackadders Employment Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland for help and advice.

Donna Reynolds, Partner
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law & Discrimination Law
Employment Law
Blackadders LLP



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