HR Hero Line

‘Tis the Season to Hire Seasonal Workers

It’s easy (and common) for retailers to hire temporary seasonal workers to help handle the rush of holiday business. But however temporary their employment might be, they’re still employees with all the potential for employer liability that status entails. It’s important to bear that in mind.

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Here’s the list, so check it twice
In the rush to hire seasonal workers, businesses should make sure they don’t overlook these important issues:

  • Duration of employment. If you’re hiring workers just for the holiday season, be sure they understand that.
  • Form I-9. Make sure the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) eligibility-for-employment forms (I-9 forms) are completed properly and retained for the entire statutory period. Review supporting documents carefully.
  • Benefits. If your seasonal employees don’t participate in the same employee benefits as your regular staff, put that in writing. Also, check the eligibility language of your benefit plans to be sure that the plan language is in accord with your actions.
  • Policies. Consider preparing an abbreviated set of your employee policies appropriate for seasonal employees. Include computer and confidentiality policies, if applicable. At the very least, inform your seasonal workers about your harassment policy and how to report concerns. Remember that they’re just as likely as your “regular” employees to suffer from abusive or inappropriate behavior.
  • Minors. If you employ workers under the age of 18, they are limited to what they can do and the number of hours they are permitted to work. Some states also have their own laws that deal with employing minors.
  • Timekeeping. As with all employees, keep accurate records of hours worked.
  • Safety. Even seasonal workers need safety orientation. Make sure they know:
    1. how and when to report injuries and unsafe conditions;
    2. the location of first-aid facilities;
    3. the use and care of personal protective equipment;
    4. emergency exit routes; and
    5. how to identify hazardous materials.

Also remember that if seasonal workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the course of their work, the notification and training requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) chemical hazard communication standards apply just the same as with all your other workers.

State-by-state comparision of 50 Employment Laws in 50 States

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