Temporary work or temporary employment refers to a situation where the employee is expected to leave the employer within a certain period of time. Temporary employees are sometimes called “contractual”, “seasonal”, “interim”, “casual staff”, “freelance”; or the word may be shortened to “temps”. In some instances, temporary professional employees (particularly in the white-collar worker fields, such as law, engineering, and accounting) even refer to themselves as “consultants” (not to be confused with management consultants). Temporary workers may work full-time or part-time, depending on the individual case. In some instances, temporary workers receive benefits (such as health insurance), but usually benefits are only given to permanent employees. Not all temporary employees find jobs through a temporary employment agency. For example, a person can simply apply at a local park for seasonal jobs. A temporary work agency, temp agency or temporary staffing firm finds and retains workers. Other companies, in need of short-term workers, contract with the temporary work agency to send temporary workers, or temps, on assignments to work at the other companies. Temporary employees are also used in work that has a cyclical nature, requiring frequent adjustments to staffing levels. In 2008 there were a total of 13,722 temp agencies and staffing services in the United States with revenue of over $7.4 million per firm.

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