Taking the hassle out of temping  

This page answers some of the questions you may have about temping with Barbara Houghton Temporaries. But just send us an e-mail if you have a query that isn't covered here.

Pay & payment methods

  • How much am I worth?
    Our consultants are perfectly placed to advise you on how much you can expect to be paid. Your rate will be determined by your skills and experience, where the placement is, as well as how much the employer expects to pay. If you have specialist skills currently in demand, then you'll naturally be able to command a premium. Bear in mind that the UK's current skills shortage continues to positively affect the rates temporary workers can command as employers can find themselves pressed to pay a premium to get a job done.
  • How do the benefits compare with those of permanent employees?
    Provided you meet certain criteria (for example, working beyond a qualifying period) you're entitled to receive statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay and holiday pay.
  • How often can I expect to be paid?
    Typically, you can expect to be paid weekly - by cheque - in arrears. So you'll need a bank account if you don't have one. If you submit a correctly completed time sheet every Monday by 10am, you can expect cleared funds in your account by Friday each week. Just make sure that you leave completed bank giro credits (or a paying in book) with our accounts department by the time we receive your first time sheet to help us pay you on time.
  • Can I appoint someone to accept payments on my behalf?
    No, sorry. All cheques are 'Account Payee only'.
  • How will I receive the relevant paperwork from you?
    If you're unable to pop into our offices at the end of each week, your payslip and time sheet will be posted to you by first-class mail.

Tax & National Insurance

  • What about tax and national insurance?
    Barbara Houghton Temporaries will automatically deduct PAYE tax (Pay As You Earn) and National Insurance from your salary using the Inland Revenue's tax tables. However, if you're working in the UK for the first time, you'll need to complete a P46 (Declaration of Employment Form) and apply for a National Insurance (NI) number. A P46 initiates the PAYE system and you can get the form from our Accounts team. NI is compulsory and imposed by the Government to pay for health and social security benefits.
  • What about tax rebates?
    Generally, tax rebates won't be necessary. As PAYE is normally calculated cumulatively, an employee's previous pay and tax figures in each tax year are used to calculate the correct deductions. This means that any deductions or refunds will automatically be made throughout the year.
  • Do I need to hang on to my P45/P60?
    Yes. Always keep a copy of your P45 and P60s (end of tax year certificates). You'll need them to complete your annual tax return and your final tax return upon leaving the company.
  • How do I know if I've got the right tax code?
    If you've already worked in the UK, your tax code will be on your P45, which will have been given to you by your previous employer. A Basic Rate Tax (BR) code is issued automatically to anyone who doesn't provide a P45 or a completed P46. As the basic rate of tax is deducted from earnings and yields no taxable allowances, it's in your interests to provide a P45. Anyone without a P45 but who has completed a P46 is automatically issued with a Week One (wk1) tax code. This emergency tax code provides a small non-taxable allowance. It calculates tax weekly and not cumulatively, as a normal tax code would.
  • Do I need a National Insurance number?
    Obtaining a NI number is compulsory, because not only is it a reference number that records your NI contributions, it also qualifies you to receive state benefits, including free medical care in hospital or from a GP doctor. No-one is legally entitled to a number, but there are circumstances when you are legally obliged to apply for one. To apply for yours, contact the Department of Social Security on 020 7712 2171. They can inform you of their nearest Jobcentre Plus office. Alternatively, you can ring the National Insurance helpline on 0191 213 5000 for a full list of offices.

Limited Companies, payments and VAT

  • Can I take on temporary work through a limited company?
    Do get independent, professional advice if you're considering taking temporary work through a limited company. This is especially crucial as, in the light of the Government's anti-tax avoidance legislation, IR35, setting up and operating such a company without professional help could severely penalise you financially. Further information on IR35 can be found on the Inland Revenue website: www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk.
  • What information do you need from me if I take on temporary work through a limited company?
    Before any payments can be made to a company, a copy of its Certificate of Incorporation issued by Companies House must arrive with our accounts department. If you fail to provide this document, you can be left making two PAYE payments - once at our end and again at yours. Your company will also need to submit an invoice with each time sheet. To avoid any delays to your payments, please ensure the invoice is issued on company headed paper and includes:
    - An invoice number.
    - The company's registered name and address.
    - Registration number.
    - Customer's name and address (i.e. Barbara Houghton Temporaries Ltd).
    - The date the invoice was generated.
    - The week-ending date.
    - A breakdown of hours and rates (matching your time sheet).
    - The total amount in pounds sterling.
    Therefore, if we're paying by cheque, the bank account details will need to be in the name of the limited company, as well as from a UK bank account. An invoice number is not a legal requirement if your limited company isn't VAT registered. However, it's a Barbara Houghton Temporaries policy that an invoice number is always quoted. Don't forget that the invoice must be a VAT invoice if your company's registered for VAT, detailing the VAT registration number and the VAT amount.

Get a continuous stream of temp jobs

  • How do I make temping a less precarious way to make a living?
    Thankfully, the UK employment market continues to show signs of life, whilst several key skills remain in high demand. So gaining temporary work can be relatively straightforward and conceivably easier than winning permanent employment. Knowing the markets as we do, our consultants can help you to be realistic about the best position for you, the rate of pay you can expect and the level of seniority your skills can command. Get these right and securing a temporary role becomes significantly easier. Winning a regular stream of temporary placements then relies on doing a number of things well, including:
    - Planning for your next assignment. Give us a call before your placement ends to discuss your needs, updating us on the significant aspects of your most recent experiences, as well as likes and dislikes.
    - Whenever you're on leave abroad or in the UK, phone or e-mail us a week before you're due to return so that we can start searching for your next position.
    - Ensuring your Barbara Houghton Temporaries consultant has a copy of your CV, recently updated with your latest experience.
    - Never forgetting to tell your consultant if your personal details change. It's particularly important to tell us of address and/or telephone number changes. If we can't contact you, we can't help you to find your next placement!
    - Calling your consultant at any time to discuss your career. The deeper our understanding of you, your experience and your skillset, the easier it is for us to help you build a rewarding procession of placements.

Are your circumstances changing?
Telephone numbers, names and addresses change all the time. Even your availability changes. Whenever they do, do let your consultant and/or our accounts department know immediately.

Whenever you fall ill or are unable to get to work for whatever reason, it is critical that you inform your line manager and your Barbara Houghton Temporaries consultant as early as possible. Failure to do this could put your placement at considerable risk. You may have some other mitigating factors which make you unhappy at your assignment. If so, always remember to contact your consultant as soon as possible to let us know how things are with you at work.

Temping Do's and Don'ts

  • Do make sure you're suitably dressed for work, whether the office culture demands formal or casual dress.
  • Do always get to the office on time, remaining punctual and responding promptly as best you can throughout the day.
  • Do be entirely professional, just as you would in a permanent position.
  • Do make sure you know and keep to all of the company's internal rules and procedures.
  • Do keep personal calls to a minimum.
  • Do gain a reference, whenever possible, when completing a placement.
  • Do keep in contact with your consultant.
  • Don't forget to ask if there's anything else you can do before going home each day .
  • Don't make personal international calls without explicit permission - ideally asking in emergencies only.
  • Don't exploit or abuse your e-mail/internet privileges.
  • Don't join in with any office politics whatsoever.
  • Don't use the company's equipment for personal use.
  • Don't ever discuss your rates of pay with management or staff.

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