Temporary workers are assigned to jobs of temp agency clients or placed in the jobs for those clients.
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
The role of a temp agency is as a third party between client employer and client employee. This third party handles remuneration, work scheduling, complaints, taxes, etc. created by the relationship between a client employer and a client employee. Client firms request the type of job that is to be done, and the skills required to do it. Client firms can also terminate an assignment and are able to file a complaint about the temp. Work schedules are determined by assignment, which is determined by the agency and can last for an indeterminate period of time, extended to any point and cut short. Because the assignments are temporary, there is little incentive to provide benefits and the pay is low in situations where there is a lot of labor flexibility. (Nurses are an exception to this as there is currently a shortage). Workers can refuse assignment but risk going through an indeterminate period of downtime since work is based on availability of assignments, which the agency cannot "create" only fill.
Whether the work comes through an independent gig economy source or a temp agency, when a temporary employee agrees to an assignment, they receive instructions pertaining to the job. The agency also provides information on correct work attire, work hours, wages, and whom to report to. If a temporary employee arrives at a job assignment and is asked to perform duties not described when they accepted the job, they may call an agency representative for clarification. If they choose not to continue on the assignment based on these discrepancies, they will most likely lose pay and may undermine chances at other job opportunities. However, some agencies guarantee an employee a certain number of hours pay if, once the temporary employee arrives, there is no work or the work is not as described. Most agencies do not require an employee to continue work if the discrepancies are enough to make it difficult for the employee to actually do the work.
A temporary work agency may have a standard set of tests to judge the competence of the secretarial or clerical skills of an applicant. An applicant is hired based on their scores on these tests, and is placed into a database. Companies or individuals looking to hire someone temporarily contact the agency and describe the skill set they are seeking. A temporary employee is then found in the database and is contacted to see if they would be interested in taking the assignment.
It is up to the temporary employee to keep in constant contact with the agency when not currently working on an assignment; by letting the agency know that they are available to work they are given priority over those who may be in the agency database who have not made it clear that they are ready and willing to take an assignment. A temp agency employee is the exclusive employee of the agency, not of the company in which they are placed (although subject to legal dispute). The temporary employee is bound by the rules and regulations of the temp agency, even if they contrast with those of the company in which they are placed.