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Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la…huh? Same Rules Apply for Seasonal Employees.

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 | Category: Employee Handbooks, Employment Administration, Government Regulatory & Compliance Issues, hiring process, HR DirectLink Service, HR Support & Project Work, Human Resources, Legal Issues When Hiring, Our Blog

We’d like to take a brief break from our holiday activities to share some very timely information regarding temporary and seasonal workers, courtesy of our friends at  Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Are you aware that, while they may only be with you for a short time during the winter, holiday workers are still subject to the same laws as regular workers? Managers who assume otherwise do so at their own peril.

The recent SHRM article “Wage and Hour Laws Apply to Holiday Workers” by Allen Smith highlights the major issues that can surface when dealing with seasonal or temporary help. It is important that a employers remember to treat temporary employees like regular ones and to be careful not to discriminate against these workers or have them work overtime without overtime pay, the article advises. Employers also need to remember the following things:

  • Overtime, wage and hour laws apply to seasonal and temporary workers in the same way they do regular employees.
  • Only a few employment laws do not apply to all workers on day one of their employment, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act. By and large, temporary workers count as regular workers when covered by most employment regulations, including  immigration laws and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws.
  • Employers should provide temporary employees with a copy of their employee handbook, including overtime and harassment policies. Employers should clarify which policies don’t apply to temporary employees, such as vacation and full-time employee benefits. Handbooks can also make it clear that seasonal employees are at-will employees, thus they might be let go before the very end of the holiday season, should sales be unexpectedly off prior to Jan. 31st. (If an employer only has an online handbook and seasonal workers don’t have access to computers, the company should consider having printed copies available for them.)
  • Employers should have seasonal employees sign acknowledgments that they have been provided with a copy of the handbook and any other handouts outlining important policies, such as wage, hour, EEO and whistle-blower policies.
  • If staffing firms are called in, businesses that use them often will be considered joint employers of the temporary workers. That means those workers are then subject to the same laws that apply to the company’s regular employees.

Not sure what the deal is with your holiday or temporary workers? “It’s a lot to keep track of and remember during a very hectic time of the year,” says hireVision’s Director of HR Services Kelly Coblentz, PHR. “When in doubt, ask the applicable agency for clarification. Additionally, reviewing and updating your handbooks and policies prior to your seasonal hiring push could make for a great New Year’s resolution.”

Need help managing your compliance and policy issues? hireVision’s HR Partnering Services provide the assistance and support your company needs to achieve these and other talent management goals. Contact us today for an honest discussion about your HR needs.

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