Almost three-quarters of licensees will be put off from employing temporary staff when new rules are brought in next year, according to a poll on thePublican.com.
A new European ruling will give temporary workers the same conditions as permanent staff, including equal pay, pensions and holiday rights.
But rather than make life better for temps, the trade fears that this decision could make things much worse.
Over the past week users of thePublican.com have been voting on whether the new rules would put them off employing temps.
An overwhelming 73 per cent said it would affect their decision.
Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, said: "Licensees will need to take on temporary staff to cover maternity leave and for extra help during the holiday seasons. If people understood the legislation they wouldn't be so worried.
"The new legislation will take more time but it won't cost anything. It just means that licensees need to make sure they draw up contract agreements and get a solicitor to look over them."
Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry estimates almost two thirds of companies will lay off some temporary staff and 160,000 jobs could be lost as a result of this ruling.
A spokesperson said: "Pubs will have to look seriously to see if it is viable for them to employ temporary staff."
To vote in the latest poll on thePublican.com, click here.