Employing Seasonal Workers

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At this time of year, many businesses take on additional workers on temporary fixed-term contracts to meet the increase in demand in the run up to Christmas and over the festive period.  It is, however, important that employers who plan to hire seasonal workers are aware of their statutory obligations towards such employees.

The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 grants protection to seasonal employees and provides that they should not be excluded from any contractual benefits offered to permanent staff by reason of their fixed term status.

A fixed-term employee has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee as regards the terms of his/her contract or by being subjected to any other detriment by any act or deliberate failure to act by the employer, for example by imposing additional conditions on their fixed-term employees which they do not impose on their permanent staff.

In particular, the right of the fixed-term employee not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee includes the opportunity to receive training and  the opportunity to secure any permanent position in the establishment.

Fixed-term employees who believe that they are being treated less favourably than their permanent counterparts on the grounds of their fixed-term status can bring claims in the employment tribunal. A claim under the Regulations must be lodged within three months of the date on which the less favourable treatment or detriment took place.

If you would like advice on any employment related issue, please contact Dermott Thomas in the Business Services team dermott.thomas@barkergotelee.co.uk

Dermott Thomas is a partner and specialist litigator/advocate at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors