Seasonal workers can be a godsend when your business is ramping up and you need additional support to meet the demand. But to ensure seasonal hiring goes smoothly, there are several legal and strategic aspects to consider.
If you don’t cover all of your legal bases and ensure your business is ready to have seasonal workers, you risk financial consequences and disruptions to your team’s workflow during some of the busiest times in your business.
Here’s how to ensure your business is protected and your team flourishes when hiring seasonal workers.
Your seasonal workers can make a significant impact on the success of your business. It’s only right they’re treated with the same respect and care as your permanent employees. This starts with honoring their rights and ensuring you’re compliant with all of the legal requirements associated with hiring seasonal workers.
Legal jargon can be complex. So, it’s best to consult a lawyer to ensure you’re completely within the bounds legally when it comes to pay and benefits, hours, taxes, and employment contracts.
Regardless if you hire a lawyer to outline a contract that respects these boundaries, you should still familiarize yourself with the concepts before moving forward in the hiring process.
If you promise a seasonal candidate a role, a starting date, their working hours, or other commitments and don’t follow through, you could face a lawsuit. If you lose, you’ll likely have to pay a settlement to the employee among other fines, and suffer a hit to your reputation.
An employee contract can help you define the parameters of a seasonal worker’s employment so that there are no discrepancies between your and your employees’ expectations of the role and the working period. You’ll also cover things like at-will termination and what their rights are as a seasonal employee in the contract.
Both of you must sign the employment contract so that it’s legally binding.
How and what you pay seasonal workers may be different than what you do for your full-time employees. Nonetheless, you must pay them either the federal or your state’s minimum wage, even if they’re students or minors, and you must do so on an established pay period.
In addition, you must pay seasonal employees overtime rates for any hours worked over 40 in a single pay period.
As far as benefits, you probably won’t have to provide benefits like health insurance or a retirement plan to seasonal workers. Nor will you have to comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the federal Affordable Care Act, or state laws like these with seasonal employees.
But it depends on your company size and if you’re complying with the legal threshold for seasonal employees. So, make sure you consult with your lawyer about these things.
As long as your seasonal employees are 16 or older, there are no limitations on how many hours they can work. But keep in mind, if seasonal employees work a certain number of hours within a specific timeframe, they could be eligible for benefits and accruing paid sick time.
For example, seasonal employees typically work 6 months or shorter, up to 30 hours per week. If they work over six months and start working 40 hours a week, they’re no longer considered seasonal and you’ll need to treat them like full-time employees.
Seasonal workers are subject to the same tax withholding status as permanent employees. You’ll need to submit the tax withholding status of your seasonal employees when doing your quarterly business taxes. Consult with a business tax professional to ensure you’re complying with all other tax obligations associated with seasonal workers.
You’re hiring seasonal workers during a busy time. So, you don’t have time to fumble around with a disorganized recruiting and hiring process. You should have a system for recruiting and hiring seasonal employees that simplifies the application, interview, and onboarding processes.
Use templates for the job listings so that you’re able to get them out quickly. Designate specific promotional channels for your seasonal job listings. Automate choosing the best matches. Enable remote interviews so you don’t have to wait for in-person interview availability.
Once you hire a suitable candidate, take your time onboarding them. This process can be just as essential as the actual hiring process. Introduce them to their manager and coworkers. Make sure they’re familiar with their responsibilities and the physical space of the office, and train them from there. You can also ask them for feedback, and use it for adjusting your onboarding process for seasonal employees in the future.
You can hire as many seasonal workers as you want. But if they’re walking into a workplace that isn’t set up for them to thrive, they’ll have a hard time being a productive member of your team.
Ensure your workplace efficiency is on point when bringing seasonal workers on board. For instance, you must delegate tasks based on the strengths of your employees. Invest in technology that aids productivity, such as automation tools or project management software. Build a positive company culture that makes seasonal workers feel welcomed and valued.
Addressing safety is essential for seasonal workers as well. They don’t have as much time as full-time employees to engage in safety training and grasp complex safety procedures. This can lead to mistakes that put the safety of all workers in jeopardy.
Create a quick and efficient process for delving into safety education with seasonal workers. Offer hands-on training that addresses the most important safety policies and procedures. Also, keep the lines of communication open and guide seasonal staff through potential safety hazards.
Make sure your seasonal employees are walking into a workplace where they can thrive.
Like most businesses, you’re probably bracing yourself for the chaos that comes with seasonal hiring. But there is a way to make this time in your business more organized and efficient. Follow the advice above to ensure hiring seasonal workers always positively impact your operation and bottom line.
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