Temporary employees are often used seasonally. Companies also use them as a way to lower expenses by letting go of highly paid employees with benefits, and filling their positions with temp workers who are not eligible for benefits. Whether temporary employees are hired directly to a company or work with a placement agency, many are considered “at will” employees, meaning they can be let go at any time during their contracted employment.

Read the employee handbook and hiring contract with the temporary worker when he is hired. Have him sign both showing he read and understood the content.

Sit down with the temporary employee a week prior to his pre-determined end date. Discuss his end date and what is expected of him at his exit. If he was hired through an employment agency discuss the exit plans with your contact there too.

Document all disciplinary actions taken against a temporary employee. Follow your normal procedures for terminating employees if the temporary employee must be let go. Again, if he was hired through an employment agency, communicate your concerns with the agency. The agency may prefer managing the discipline and termination.

Explain to a good temporary employee the reason you are letting him go. Sometimes there is not enough work to sustain a temporary worker, or funding issues dictate “at will” terminations. Discuss these determining factors with the employment agency, if you used one for your temporary help.


Be upfront and clear on your expectations for the temporary employee. Put the end date in writing so there is no confusion.


Do not terminate a temporary employee for any reason you would not terminate a traditional employee. You must still abide by the law.