What is the Difference Between “Day Laborers” and “Temporary Employees?”

Employee classification matters because it affects the work that is promised to the employees in the future and the way paychecks are distributed. As an employer, you might consider temporary employees or day laborers if you need short-term assistance. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to bring on another part-time or full-time employee, which is why you turn to temporary assistance instead.

Day Laborers vs. Temporary Employees

Even though these terms sound similar, there are some distinct differences that need to be understood:

  • Day Laborers: These people are hired to complete a variety of tasks, without the specification of a particular skill set. They must be compensated at a minimum wage based on the employment laws in the area. Usually, the workers are unskilled and they work for daily wages, often for farm labor or construction projects. Since the work is completed one day at a time, there is no promise of more work being available in the future.
  • Temporary Employees: In comparison, a temporary employee is usually hired for a contracted length of time. Employers bring in temporary employees during the busy season to avoid the expenses of hiring a regular employee. For example, retailers might hire temporary employees during the holiday season, or theme parks sometimes need temporary employees during the summer months.

Hiring Day Laborers or Temporary Employees

The best solution to bring in temporary work is by talking to an HR service for advice. Short-term contracts fill the needs of the employer, while the HR professionals and ensure that you follow the right structure for payroll, tax deductions, and more.

There are times when construction crews or landscaping companies hire day laborers informally. These workers wait at well-known locations, such as commercial parking lots, to see if small business owners offer work for the day. While it might seem convenient to have workers on demand, it is important that you are cautious to follow employment laws with hiring and pay.

Laws and Payments of Day Laborers

Both federal and state laws protect the rights of all employees, including day laborers. In California, there is a Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) to ensure that the legal rights of every person are protected.  These laws protect the pay scale, breaks for meals and rest, safety on the job, and benefits when someone is unemployed or injured.

Employers are required to pay at least the minimum wage, which is $10.50 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees, or $11 per hour if the company has 26 or more employees. Overtime pay and double pay also needs to be provided based on the number of hours that are worked per day as well as the number of days worked in a week.

Make sure that your company is within the legal guidelines for your workforce. If you need assistance finding employees or temporary workers, then the easiest answer is to talk to an HR professional. Contact us at Cahue Enterprises to learn about the services that we provide: (951) 760-2870

*Disclaimer: Any information provided is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice regarding any subject matter. Cahue Enterprises HR Consulting, Inc. is not assuming the position of legal advisor but instead aims to educate on human resources matters and compliance.