Career Advice

What Not to Do If You Want a Pay Rise as a Temp Worker

People2people NZ Posted by People2people
min read

You’ve just discovered someone is being paid more than you, and it’s made you – understandably – angry. You want to have your hourly rate reviewed. You’re feeling ripped off and demand justice. Well, here’s what you shouldn’t do if you want to negotiate a pay rise as a temporary worker.


Compare Yourself to Others

The first step is to stop discussing money with colleagues. It’s none of your business what they get paid, and none of theirs what you are paid. You negotiated and accepted the rate that you have, and they did the same. Negotiating your pay means balancing the fine line between what the job is ‘worth’, what you will accept, and what the employer is willing to pay. More often than not, it is the budget of the line manager that dictates the pay rate of a temporary worker, but not all of the power lies with them. There’s no harm in asking your recruitment consultant if it is possible to get a higher base pay rate, but this is something you should do when accepting an assignment and not after you start work.


Call Up Another Agency When You’re Emotional and Worn Out

We had this happen to us just last week. A temporary employee who was hired by another temp agency found out that they were making less than the people2people temp workers. They called us and demanded that they be given the right to work through us. Please understand when we say there’s nothing that we can do about that. It was this other agency who introduced the employee to the on hire employer and they clearly have an employment relationship with them. We have absolutely no rights or responsibilities for other casual employees who work with different agencies. The only thing we could do was explain that the temp worker had to discuss this with their own agency, and that it would best if they do did so, calmly.


Complain About How Much Money The Agency is Making From You

This one is our favourite. Look, we’ll be upfront and admit that we’re a commercial organisation. We charge a margin on top of the temp workers’ pay rates because that is the source of our revenue as a business. Like any business, we have to be profitable to be a going concern. Agency margins are getting squeezed all the time. There may be some industries where a high margin is still the norm, but we live and work in a free market. You can’t think of what we charge the on hire employers and what you get paid and think that the difference is pure profit. This difference accounts for all of your costs including workers comp insurance, other insurances, payroll tax and super. Then there’s the costs of doing business, advertising, consultant salary, administration, rent, systems, equipment, and so on.


What to do If you Want to Have your Pay Reviewed

Here are some tips on what you should do if you want to negotiate a pay rise;

  • Be sure to review your job performance before giving your consultant a call. Have you been doing more work then you were employed to do? If you have, then that’s a great negotiating tool for getting a pay rise.
  • Understand the award that covers you and what the minimum rate for that award is. Your agency is legally bound to tell you the award that you work under (if any) and how they calculate your pay. If you feel that you aren’t being paid the proper amount, then take a look at the modern awards listing on the Fair Work Australia website to be sure. If you discover that you aren’t being paid enough then give your agency a call and quote the award, grade, and the minimum rate. They should review your pay rate as soon as possible.
  • Make sure that you’re nice about it all. It’s never easy to ask someone for a pay increase, and everyone is emotionally involved in how much they are paid, but going into negotiating a pay rise with an aggressive attitude only serves to put people offside. They aren’t going to listen to what you say when they are too busy focusing on how it is being said. Stay calm and be reasonable about things. Be polite and be prepared to have to wait to get an answer about your pay. Recruiters never agree to increase pay right away; they have to take some time to consider what you’ve told them, look at the role, and talk to the on hire employer before they can give you an answer.