- (also Temporary Employment Agency
, Employment Agency, Job
A temp agency is a business that subcontracts workers to other companies for short term work. Tasks can vary from unskilled manual labor to highly specialized computer programming. Occasionally temps are hired as full time employees. This usually requires some sort of payment by the hiring company to the temp agency.
Blue collar temps often work as unskilled labor: clearing debris from construction or demolition, moving boxes, light assembly and factory work, or as warehouse staff. White collar or office temps may fill in for absent employees or be assigned to jobs that no one else in an office wants to do, such as stuffing envelopes, folding flyers, data entry, photocopying documents, large quantity filing, or answering phones.
Temps generally occupy the lowest station in the workplace heirarchy. They have the least senority (often measured in minutes), lowest pay, fewest benefits, and the least desired tasks. But their work is often integral to the efficent functioning of the company.
Temp agencies generally charge companies twice what they pay their temp employees. If a temp is hired to fill in for the receptionist at Amalgamated Businessworks Inc. at $8 an hour, Amalgamated will probably have to pay the temp agency at least $16 an hour.
As a personal note, I didn't really understand the phrase "the machinery of capitalism is oiled with the blood of the workers"
until I spent a week working like a dog in the sun and realized that only half of what my sweat earned went to me. The rest went to somone sitting in an air conditioned office.
It is useful, and perhaps even helpful, for the temp agency to provide short term work for people. I am speaking from first hand experience: it does not take a great deal of effort to process, select, dispatch and pay temporary workers. Basically, once you arrange where and when, someone else goes there and actually does the work.
See also: wage slave, alienated labor, exploitation, boss, drone, capitalism, Marxism...