Hiring Seasonal Workers: What Employers Need to Know

With the holiday season upon us, more employers are considering hiring extra staff to take on their extra work. It’s important to remember that many regulations apply to temporary employees just as they do to full-time workers. Here are a few issues to keep in mind:

Employment Laws

Some employment regulations apply to temporary workers just as they do to full-time employees. For example, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if any employee (seasonal or full-time) works more than 40 hours in a given week, you must pay him or her at least minimum wage plus overtime.

If you choose to employ young people, there are supplementary rules to comply with. For instance, you can hire workers as young as 14, but they are limited in the hours they can work and the types of jobs they can perform. For details, visit the Texas Workforce Commission’s page on Child Labor Law.

Other laws that apply to seasonal workers include those that cover harassment, workplace health and safety, and discrimination. Make sure that any managers supervising seasonal workers understand the labor laws that apply to them.

Contractors

Contrary to a popular belief, seasonal workers are not always independent contractors. According to the Texas Workforce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, when you hire a person to perform normal tasks for the company (as opposed to special tasks), he or she is considered an employee. If you want to keep seasonal workers separate from your payroll, you may want to consider using a temp agency.

Taxes

When you hire employees only at special times of the year, special filing rules apply. As long as you have notified the Internal Revenue Service of an employee’s seasonal status, it is not mandatory to file returns for quarters during which you have paid no wages or incurred any tax liability. For more information, visit the IRS’ page on Part Time or Seasonal Help.

Affordable Care Act

Under the Affordable Care Act, when you have 50 or more people under full-time employment, you are considered a large company and are therefore required to offer them health insurance. However, if you have seasonal workers who have worked for less than 120 days, they do not count towards your total.

Background Checks

The last thing you want to be worrying about during a peak season is whether employees are stealing or committing fraud. Always run a background check before employing any worker, including seasonal and temporary employees. Failing to do so could put your customers, your staff, and your company at risk.

Before move forward in hiring seasonal employees, keep the above in mind, and also remember that temporary employees can sue if they see their rights being violated. A solid awareness of their rights and your responsibilities will you get through this busy season without having to deal with employment hassles.

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