Who Will Win Olympic Gold for Profiteering?

In this most recent addition to our series of blogs on the state of the temporary market both for employers and for candidates, this week saw an interesting development. With the Olympics fast-approaching, Londoners and people right across the country are finally realising the enormity of the task ahead and the army of workers that are and will be required. A huge tranche of the Olympic contract fell to the recruitment giant Adecco who are responsible for sourcing 100,000 individuals to work at the games, 4,000 of which will be directly employed by the recruitment agency.

This process of temps being employed directly by the recruitment agency and then ‘loaned’ out to client is the standard way of working on temporary roles. Normally, because of the urgent and spontaneous nature of temporary employment, along with the requirement for temps to be flexible to work days that maybe permanent staff can’t, temps do not normally take holiday days. They are however, under UK law, entitled to 28 days holiday including public holidays and as such are normally paid an additional allowance worked into the overall charge rate that a business employing a temp pays an agency that makes up for it.

This means that whenever temporary staff are working they are accruing additional money in holiday pay. However, should a temporary member of staff work for a period of three months, the holiday entitlement which they are due to be paid works out as 9.33 days.

Normally these fractional days are paid as accurately as possible, but it was revealed this week that Adecco has adopted a policy of rounding down this figure to the nearest whole day. So to use the example above they would pay the temp 9 days holiday pay rather than 9 and one third.

This may sound like a minimal amount, but for an employee working for the duration of the Olympics, even on the minimum wage, this means that each individual would miss out on £40. That means that by adopting these rules Adecco stands to pocket £160,000 in what has been branded by some politicians and commentators as illegal earnings.

As the argument rumbles on over whether Adecco should be forced to change its policy, temps should ensure that they are paid the fair and correct amount in holiday pay, and just as importantly, employers should ensure that they agencies they use are guaranteeing a fair and correct rate of pay to their staff.