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5 ways to avoid legal risks of converting temps to regular staff

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in Employee Benefits Program,Employment Background Check,Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources

Issue: More employers are testing job candidates by hiring them as temps first.

Risk: Temps converted to regular staff often fly under the radar of pre-employment checks, plus create other unexpected legal risks.

Action: Follow the following five steps to sidestep legal trouble when moving temps into full-time regular jobs.

If your organization is still leery about taking on more full-time employees, it may be testing the market by hiring temps.

So-called temp-to-hire arrangements take temp relationships one step further. Typically, temp positions last three to six months. Then, if all goes well, the temp assignment transitions into a regular, full-time job. Statistics show that such "try before you buy" arrangements are gaining speed.

If you agree to a temp-to-hire tryout, make sure the deal is clear among you, the agency and the temp. Above all, be aware that legal liability shifts from the temp agency to your organization once the temp becomes a regular employee.

To reduce the chance of any misunderstandings, review these five legal tips:

1. Post the job. If you usually post internal job opportunities, do it for temp-to-hire jobs, too. Consider temps external candidates.

2. Don't call them 'permanent' employees. When temps join the regular staff, don't let anybody call them "permanent" employees. That can imply that the employee has a job for life, which destroys their "at-will" status. Instead, suggest calling them "regular" employees.

3. Consider the impact on benefits, compliance. Shifting temps to regular employment will increase your employee head count, which could affect your organization's compliance with employment laws.

And if employees have been classified as temps for more than six months, they may try to count that time toward their benefits plan or seniority. To sidestep this issue, ask the temp to take a week off before starting as a regular employee. That counts as a break in service.

4. Follow pre-employment screening. Temps should formally apply for open jobs, just as other candidates would be required to do. Insist that hiring managers run temps through the same reference and background checks.

5. Include temps in new-hire orientation. That helps make the change official. Plus, it's a good chance for the supervisor to focus on setting performance expectations.

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