6 great reasons to try temporary work if you’re unemployed


I have been shocked by the number of times I contact an unemployed individual to offer them suitable work as a Frank’s temporary, only to have them decline the work. The reasons people give as an explanation for the refusal often signal that they may not have considered or understood some of the positive ways that “temping” can help them.

1. If you’re returning to the workforce after an extended break, temporary work demonstrates your up-to-date skills and business practices.

Employers are reluctant to hire people who have taken an extended break, even for good reasons such as parenting children or caring for elderly parents.  Some fear that skills and workplace knowledge will have atrophied too much during that break.

Temporary work gives you experience in current workplaces so that you see what’s competitive in practices such as using technology for business efficiency.  It also conveys to a prospective employer that your skills are strong enough to quickly adapt in a setting with high performance expectations.

2. Temping reinforces your employ-ability for any prospective employer who considers your resume.

Skill atrophy is real, especially for someone unemployed long-term. Employers know this and it’s a factor in their hiring decisions. Just last week, one of my client contacts reviewed a resume of someone laid off last October. Her response was, “Well, what has he been doing since then?”

Temporary work at least signals that you have been actively looking for work, accepting opportunities, and reinforcing your workplace skills. In this highly competitive job market, that could be the positive factor that tips the decision in your favor!

3. Temporary work may open unexpected doors.

Many temporaries are hired by our client companies, even though only assigned for short-term coverage.  The employer sees how quickly you learn, what skills you bring, and what a great work ethic you bring each day. Through the temporary coverage, it’s easier for that employer to envision you as their own prospective employee.

4. Temporary work of even a day or two in a week can supplement your unemployment benefits.

IDES allows you to earn up to half of your gross weekly benefit amount without reducing your benefit for that week by a single penny. For example, if your weekly benefit is $300, you may earn an additional $150 free and clear.

5. Temporary work could help to extend the weeks that you are receiving unemployment benefits.

When IDES notifies you that you are eligible for benefits, they give you a year-long period of eligibility during which you may claim benefits. They tell you the total benefit amount for which you’re eligible, as well as the weekly gross benefit amount you will receive. You’ll notice that dividing the total amount by the weekly benefit doesn’t equal 52!

Let’s say that your weekly benefit is $300. Let’s also say that you work a couple of days on a temporary assignment, earning $200. For that week, you will receive the $200 from the temporary agency. Of that, $150 is free and clear because it’s half of your IDES benefit. That means that you’ve earned $50 more than half of your benefit. So your IDES benefit for that week will be reduced by $50 ~ reduced dollar for dollar. So you’ll earn $200 from the agency + $250 from IDES = $450 total.

What happens to that $50 that was offset dollar for dollar? It stays in the account for possible future benefits. When you reach the end of 26 weeks, that $50 is still there as a payable benefit if you’re still within your benefit year and still qualified to receive benefits. It doesn’t go away in the long-term, even if it is discounted in the short-term.

6. Temporary work could help you qualify for a 2nd benefit year under Section 607B.

If you are unemployed for a long period, your need for benefits may go beyond the one-year time frame of your initial claim.

Section 607B is the law that applies to the second benefit year. You must have performed “bona fide work” for an employer who is paying into state’s unemployment insurance program. That work must have occurred after the start of your original benefit year. And your total gross pay for that work must equal at least 3 times your weekly benefit amount.

If you are receiving $300 per week during your first benefit year, then you would need to earn at least $900 from qualified employment (e.g., not independent contracting on a 1099-basis) during that benefit year in order to possibly qualify for a second benefit year. Just a few temporary assignments could easily generate that much income for you.


Republished with permission. Originally published by Elyse on her employee/job seeker blog in 2012. She has rewritten to remove outdated EUC content.

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