Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 01-67

**Published Version**

Industrial and Labor Relations Review 55(1) (October 2001): 149-170




This paper examines which employers use flexible staffing arrangements, why they use these arrangements, and their implications for workers and public policy, drawing on a nationally representative survey of private sector establishments. Use of flexible staffing arrangements-including temporary help agency, short-term, on-call, regular part-time, and contract workers-is widespread and two-thirds of employers believe this use will increase in the near future. Traditional reasons concerning the need to accommodate fluctuations in workload or absences in staff are the most commonly cited reasons for using all types of flexible staffing arrangements. Many employers also use agency temporaries and part-time workers to screen candidates for regular positions. Finally, savings on benefits costs is an important factor determining employers' use of flexible staffing arrangements. Workers in flexible staffing arrangements typically are not covered by regulations governing benefits, and they typically do not receive key benefits, like pension benefits and health insurance, when these benefits are offered to regular full-time workers.

Issue Date

June 1998; 1st revision, December 1999; 2nd revision, October 2000


First revision, December 1999; second revision, October 2000


Originally prepared under contract from the U.S. Department of Labor (no. 41USC252C3) under title: Temporary, Part-Time, and Contract Employment in the United States: New Evidence from an Employer Survey, June 1997

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Employment relationships; Nonstandard work arrangements; Temporary employment; Wages, health insurance and other benefits; Nonwage benefits




Houseman, Susan N. 2000. "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 01-67. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.