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Temporary workers and agencies have been around for at least the last 30 years, and they used to be a great resource for companies looking to find experienced workers on short notice to fill positions for a few days when their regular employee was on vacation or sick. It was never intended to become a source of semi-permanent workers. Yet that is what the temporary agency and worker has become. Nowadays the temporary agency is used as method to sort through potential employees, process payroll and even to avoid paying employees medical insurance.
As a temporary worker that works through a temporary agency, the worker is often prohibited from being hired by the company that they are assigned to unless a huge fee is paid to the agency to release the worker from their contract. Agencies often coach or threaten their workers to make them not want to work directly for the company they are assigned to. Contracts can last anywhere from one day to years.
The largest computer maker in the world is guilty of temporary worker abuse. That company is HP. They hire mostly temporary workers as technicians and production help. Their contracts last from 6 months to a maximum of 2 years. Once the temporary worker’s contract is up at the end of 2 years, they must have a break of 3 months before they can enter as a temporary worker again at HP. HP uses the temporary work force to avoid paying medical insurance and other benefits to those on-site workers. I should know, since I was one of those workers from 2005 to 2007. The temp worker is treated like a second class worker by HP. While HP hosts parties, barbecues and other employee gatherings during work hours, the temporary worker is deliberately excluded and often security guards are used to prevent temporary workers from even being in the area of the event. The pay rate for most temp production work is $10 to $12 an hour at HP while regular workers are paid in the $16 to $20 hour range. The temporary agency receives over $20 per hour for each worker at HP and take their cut first and pay the temp worker what they think they hire temp workers for. The only company getting rich here is the temporary agency.
I would like to see the practice of long term temporary employees end. A temporary worker should not be expected to work for more than a week at the most at one location. If the assignment lasts longer than that then the temporary worker would automatically be hired by the company they were assigned to. As long as people are willing to be used and abused by temporary agencies and the companies that partner with them, I see no end to the plight of the abuse of the temp worker.
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