Hiring for seasonal fluctuations as a retailer

seasonal hiring

It’s that time again; turn on the TV this month and you will be hit by hours and hours of reality TV.

We’ve already been blinded by the thousands of Swarovski crystals on Strictly contestants’ outfits while simultaneously being deafened by undeterred hopefuls on X Factor, and before we know it, our beloved Christmas classics will be showing.

With Christmas fast approaching, retailers are already preparing their shops for the millions of people hitting the high streets this festive season. Whether it’s beginning to stack the shelves with selection boxes or creating beautiful displays of gifts, this will require lots of staff to carry out these jobs.

In fact, Argos has announced it will be recruiting over 10,000 temporary workers for the festive season. The high street retail giant will be looking for stock assistants, delivery drivers and customer adviser roles who will receive ‘excellent benefits’ and the potential for permanent roles when their contract is finishing.

However, Argos will not be the only ones looking for temporary workings this Christmas. It is reported that even hotels, airlines, sales promotion companies and even, Royal Mail are looking for some extra staff to cope with the ‘Christmas Rush’.

Despite temporary jobs on the increase in the retail sector, retail job cuts in July were the lowest since November 2016 and just over 6,000 retail stores have closed this year; presenting a problem to recruiters for these retail giants. For retailers, this uncertainty can prevent people considering taking up these temporary positions and therefore, make it difficult to fill a large number of positions.

So how exactly should you employ temporary workings quickly (and correctly) for the Christmas period?

National Minimum Wage

Recent changes to legislation entitles temporary workers to the same benefits as permanent staff, including parental leave benefits, holiday and pensions. However, these are all on a pro rata basis.

Similar to the other employee benefits, temporary workers are entitled to National Minimum Wage, which allows employers to pay temporary workers lower wages than permanent staff. There must be legal, justifiable reasons based upon experience or where their pay performance-related to pay temporary staff lower salaries.

Included entitlements

The shared rights between permanent workers and temporary workers extends to paid holiday leave on a pro rata basis. While there are ratios for holiday leave, the typical temporary worker employed for three months and working two days a week will be entitled to 9.6 days of paid leave.

However, you can negotiate to offer extra pay in lieu of holidays, or arrangements providing both you and your employee agree and understand your agreement.

You will also need to work out statutory sick pay. While unlikely, your temporary staff will have to be ill for at least four consecutive days including weekends and bank holidays to qualify for sick pay.


As most of your temporary staff will be on a short-term contract, if there are people who do not perform you can simply wait until their term is finished and let go of them. However, if they need to be dismissed for misconduct prior to the end of their contract, you may dismiss them following the same procedures as permanent staff.

Often, this will mean going through the recognised disciplinary stages; official warnings and warnings in writing before dismissing anyone.

If you’re looking to maintain a good temporary workers policy, you can act quickly and have the confidence of former temporary workers who may return the next time you need them.

Keeping on employees

Finally, in the process of monitoring these temporary workers, you may find some individuals have the potential to work in your company on a long term basis. While the benefit of hiring staff for a short period has strong financial advantages, hiring temporary workers is essentially a trial period. You are able to find people who are beneficial for the companies through their hard work and seeing how they perform in the workplace.

Darren Diamond CEO of DYWAJ