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Question about Temporary Employees


Question: Is there a limitation on the length of time that an employee can be classified as a temporary employee?


Answer from Kim, SPHR, SHRM-SCP: No. There are no federal laws defining how long an employee can be considered “temporary.” The time frame can vary based on an organization’s budget considerations and business needs. For example, an organization may only need to hire employees for an increase in sales over the holiday season or to cover the position of an employee on leave. Even then, the employee on leave may need to shorten or extend their leave time, or the holiday “rush” may start or end earlier than the organization projected.


Best practices for temporary employees include setting clear parameters for the time frame, payrate, work schedule, and work expectations. Any potential changes in these parameters should also be clearly communicated (e.g., let them know the holiday rush might be longer or shorter than usual).


Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that temporary employees may still be eligible for some benefits—their eligibility is not dependent on whether you classify their position as temporary. You can learn more about these requirements on the platform.


This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law.


Kim is a results-driven HR Professional with experience from diverse industries, including but not limited to, transportation, environmental services, staffing, pharmaceutical, market research, banking, retail, software development and education non-profit. In her spare time, Kim enjoys the beautiful view from her home and being with her husband and their German shepherd, Fin.


Legal Disclaimer: On-Time Payroll is not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this post should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. OTP cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.

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