Is short-term work a good alternative to full-time employment?


SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, answers questions from HR as part of a series for United States today.

Do you have an HR or professional question that you would like him to answer? Submit it here.

I have been employed full time for a marketing agency for over 12 years. I’m looking for another position but can’t find a ton of full-time positions that fit my background. I am considering contract and temporary work. Can they be more lucrative? Can they be stable? –Bernard

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: There are marked differences between full-time and short-term employment. Each has unique facets to consider when looking to advance your career.

Contract and temporary positions can be more lucrative as they tend to pay a higher hourly rate than a full-time position. However, stability is not a guarantee for these short-term options. It takes more effort to maintain consistent work opportunities. Minimizing downtime between assignments so that you are working constantly is critical to short-term job success.

The cost of benefits is another consideration. If you have decided to work directly for your clients, you may need to provide your own services. Alternatively, you can work with a recruiting agency that specializes in your field who will in turn place you with their clients. The hourly rate is probably a little lower, but many offer group health insurance after 90 days. Plus, their client portfolio is available to help you find work when your assignment ends.

Besides financial considerations, being an entrepreneur or a temporary employee can be a good strategy while looking for a full-time direct position. Contracting can also offer great flexibility. You can choose which assignments you want to work on and take time for job interviews, while developing your skills. Robust career movement can also enrich your professional network, increasing the number of SEO opportunities available to you. Subcontracting or interim opportunities can themselves lead to a full-time job if you are good at the job and fit well with the culture of the company.

Overall, you may be more likely to land a short-term assignment that matches your background compared to a full-time position in a company. In the future, if you are aware of the differences in work opportunities, you will be able to better tailor your approach to improve your career path. Good luck to you.

My company is in the process of being taken over by another company, and we have been informed that our department will face layoffs in 8 months. However, we can take a buyback of 4 months of severance pay. If I decide to stay, is it reasonable to believe that they will honor the 8 month commitment? Is the new business obligated to honor the agreement? – Stephen

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: You will want to enter this decision very carefully. There is a good chance that the acquiring company has already gone through or has people on their staff who have gone through this process before. They will be well measured in protecting their interests. In order to come to a fair deal, you need to focus on protecting your interests. Understand that unless there are agreements in place to do so, there is no guarantee. The new company is not automatically bound by the same obligations as your current company, unless this is expressly stated in writing.

Start by checking with your manager or HR if there is an agreement between the two companies to continue your employment for 8 months, if you stay. If you have a collective agreement (CBA), which is usually in a union environment, or an employment contract, issued upon hiring, you will want to review it to determine if there is a stipulation to continue your employment for a period of time. specific period of time before, during or after an acquisition.

Retention agreements are a common practice when companies wish to encourage employees to stay during a critical period of transition. Such agreements generally include a retention bonus as an incentive to stay during a period of layoff. If an agreement is in place, it can provide some job protection there.

In addition, you should review the language of the 4 month separation agreement. In most cases, severance pay is a written agreement honored by both the current business and the acquiring business. It also requires a commitment on your part, so before signing an agreement, strongly consider consulting legal counsel.

As you move forward, it is essential to carefully review all agreements. Discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your current employer. Before signing the agreement, clarify your understanding with your employer and, if you wish, with a lawyer. You should also check that the agreement is also binding on the new business, before making a decision.

Times of business transition and layoffs are very stressful. Arm yourself with detailed information and thoroughly explore your available options to find the one that’s right for you.


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