Using students as temporary workers: when and how?
Every sensible entrepreneur who has or wants to hire staff always takes a critical look at his personnel policy. Labor costs are one of the most important cost items, especially if you need a lot of staff. If that is also all staff with permanent employment contracts, it also ensures that your company is very inflexible. After all, you cannot simply scale up and down in staff deployment. In such cases it can be very useful and sensible to work with temporary workers.
Students as temporary workers
Many temporary workers have traditionally been students who are looking for a part-time job alongside their education. You are talking about temporary workers in the age category of 16 to 24 years who often look for part-time positions. A hire student can be very useful for three reasons:
- They are often willing to work irregular hours and outside office hours. For example, because they have lectures during the day and are therefore able and willing to work in the evenings and weekends.
- You can use them flexibly – one week more hours than the other, for example – and often have them work a bit more during holidays, if your permanent staff takes traditional leave.
- The minimum wage is lower the younger the temporary worker is. This can make a significant difference in labor costs.
Yet many entrepreneurs have never worked with temporary workers. For example, because they think it is unmotivated staff, who will say goodbye again in no time. In practice, however, this is far from the truth in the vast majority of cases. In fact, the popularity of temporary workers is increasing, and so is the quality.
When is the best time to use temporary workers?
Traditionally, temporary workers are mainly used for seasonal work – think of sectors such as tourism, catering and the agricultural sector. These functions are therefore known as typical student work. However, the use of temporary workers has become common in many other sectors over the years. We find many temporary workers in the retail sector in particular, but in fact temporary workers are available for every position that does not require specialist prior training.
Taking on a employment agency is therefore recommended if you temporarily need more staff or are not yet sure whether you want to work with extra staff in the long term. However, it is also useful if you are picky about new staff and, if the collaboration does not go well, you want to be able to say goodbye quickly and unscathed. You do not have that freedom with your own staff, who often have an employment contract for a fixed number of months.
What should you pay attention to with temporary workers?
You do not hire a temporary worker because it is so much cheaper than hiring your own staff. In fact, working with temporary workers simply costs you more money per hour worked. This is of course because the intermediary – the employment agency – does not work for a smile and a handshake, but earns from the mediation. So you actually buy a bit of flexibility. In addition, the employment agency provides a pre-selection, so your selection procedure is shorter and simpler. That's what you pay for in the end.
You should also pay attention to the rights and obligations of temporary workers. For example, you are obliged to offer them the same facilities (use of canteen and other facilities) as your own staff. And the rights that you have – saying goodbye without notice, for example – the temporary worker also has. He or she can therefore stop unexpectedly. Finally, a temporary employment contract cannot be extended indefinitely. You are required by law to hire a temporary worker on a permanent basis after two years.
What is the difference between working students and temporary workers?
A special category of temporary workers are the so-called working students. A working student is a temporary worker who is undergoing training, but who is already pre-sorting for a position after that training has been completed. The work that the working student is looking for is therefore an extension of the study program in question.
A working student will therefore not want to do every job and will in principle aim to remain in your service after completing the training or to move on to another position. It is good to check whether you prefer to work with 'traditional' student temporary workers, who may say goodbye once their training is complete, or working students, whom you hire more for the longer term.