If you’ve had a temporary position at the same job for a while, you may be wondering how long you can be classified as a temporary employee. Many people like temporary jobs for how easy they make it to find work and for their flexibility. However, many people don’t intend to be temporary employees for the long term and want to end up with a permanent position sooner or later. Temporary work can lead to a permanent job if you perform well and the employer likes you. But how long can you be classified as a temporary employee when working at one place?
The truth is that there’s no one answer to this question. You can be a temporary employee for days, weeks, or months. However, there are some legal considerations when it comes to working at one place in the long term. To protect the rights of temporary workers, employers must follow federal law in how long they use a temporary worker for. You can’t be classified as a temporary employee at the same place for years on end. That’s illegal, as it’s denying you the benefits and pay you deserve, since you are essentially a permanent employee at this point.
Here is what you need to know about how long you can be classified as a temporary employee at one job.
How Long Can You Work As A Temporary Employee?
If you are switching from one assignment to another with different employers, you could be a temporary employee for a while. Temporary jobs vary greatly in length, from weeks to months on end. However, there are laws in place to protect temporary employees from being taken advantage of by unethical employers. Generally, the DOL states that if you work for 1000 hours or more in a single year for a company, you are entitled to certain benefits, such as participation in your employer’s retirement plan.
Employers can hire a temporary employee for a specific period of up to a year. They cannot hire the same person for more than two years in a row. This is in order to protect temporary employees from employers who would constantly rehire them for years on end without offering them the same benefits and pay as a permanent employee.
The Microsoft Case
This comes up every time people ask about how long someone can be classified as a temporary employee. Back in 1992, temporary workers sued Microsoft because they were classified as temporary employees even though they’d been working for the company for years. They weren’t given any of the benefits of Microsoft’s regular full-time employees, in spite of having the same responsibilities and having worked there for longer than many of Microsoft’s permanent employees.
It was settled that Microsoft should have given them the same rights as their permanent employees.
Guidelines For Temporary Job Lengths
As you can see, some employers would seek to take advantage of temporary employees. There is no clear time limit for how long you can be classified as a temporary employee. However, federal temporary jobs should last no longer than one year and need to have a specific end date. Temporary jobs in the private sector should follow similar guidelines.
If a temporary employee performs the same job as a regular employee without receiving the same benefits for an extended period of time, the employer can be held liable. That is why temporary employees are generally asked to take a 3-6 month break from a position after working there for 12-18 months, and why an employer can’t use the same temporary employee for more than 2 years.
That is why temporary assignments are typically limited in duration. If a temporary employee works over 1000 hours at a company in a year, they’re entitled to participate in the company’s retirement plan. This translates to 40 hours per week for 25 weeks.
When Should A Temporary Job Become Permanent
Here at All Trades Staffing Services, we ask that employers work with an employee for a minimum of 400 hours prior to bringing them on full time. In general, if an employer likes an employee and they have the means and ability to bring them on full-time, we encourage that. If an employee is going to cross the 1000 hour threshold or their assignment can last longer than a year, it’s recommended that they’re brought on full-time.
How long you can be classified as a temporary employee varies on a number of factors. However, you will be relieved to learn of the laws in place to protect you from being taken advantage of and that limit how long you can be classified as a temporary employee with one employer without access to regular benefits.
Are You Looking For Work?
All Trades Staffing Services, LLC, provides a plethora of temporary employment opportunities across a wide range of industries from industrial to clerical. Contact us today if you are interested in becoming a temporary employee.