While we are in the throes of seasonal summertime employment, the holidays are looming just around the corner. You may have found this summer that hiring seasonal employees isn’t as simple as it sounds. In fact, there can be restrictions and obligations that come with seasonal employment that are news to you.
Don’t fall into seasonal employment traps. Know ahead of time what you’re getting yourself into. That way, seasonal employees provide what they’re supposed to — help without all of the hassle. The Bangor Daily News provides some insight into seasonal employee guidelines that every small business should follow.
1. Minor Restrictions
When you think “seasonal employee,” a bright-eyed, inexperienced teenager comes to mind. While this is typically who you’re targeting with your “Help Wanted” advertisements during the summer and holiday months, it’s smart to know ahead of time state and federal limitations on minor workers. For instance, it’s against the law in Maine for a teenager to work alone in a cash-based business like a concession stand.
Also, many states have limitations on how many hours a minor can work during the week, which in some cases changes from the summer months to winter months. Knowing these laws will not only prevent you from breaking the law but will ensure that you have an adequate amount of help.
2. To Pay or Not to Pay Overtime
The Bangor Daily News states that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires all employers to pay employees time and a half their regular wage for any hours worked over 40 per week. However, some seasonal employees and jobs are exempt from this act. Furthermore, most states have a similar act that employers must abide by but that also contains exemptions from the rule. Knowing these exemptions can save you a lot of money in the long run.
3. Miscellaneous Legal Obligations
When it comes to legal obligations, there are a slew of federal and state laws that could require something more of your small business if you take on more employees. Brush up on the legal ramifications for your small business if you decide to take on seasonal help. Ask questions about medical benefits or legal liability that comes with increasing your staff for a few weeks or months.
4. The Unpaid Intern
There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding unpaid interns. Many employers abuse unpaid interns, delegating tasks to them that are vital to the production of the business without paying them. Again, the Fair Labor Standards Act specifies that if a student or volunteer is handling responsibilities that benefit the business, they should be paid, as reported by the Bangor Daily News. Technically, unpaid interns should only be working as a supplement to their education. Anything beyond that requires minimum wage pay.
While these aren’t the only concerns you should address before hiring seasonal employees, it’s a start. Taking certain precautions will ensure that your seasonal employees are a help and not a nightmare.
Tell us about your experiences with hiring seasonal employees in the comments!