It’s during the shopping time of a year, often closer to Thanksgiving, that businesses hire seasonal employees to meet their increasing customer demands. However, this seasonal employment processing is not without its challenges. Employers should be aware of the legal obligations while hiring part-time employees with advice from an employment lawyer. Employment attorneys advise both employees and employers on the legal standards set by local, state or federal government. They help ensure that all employees are treated in a fair and consistent manner. Transcription outsourcing companies assist these lawyers to meet their documentation tasks.
An online employment website Snagajob reports that in 2017, 21 percent of firms hiring holiday help will be paying between $11 – $16 an hour, up 9% from last year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. However, well-planned seasonal employee hiring practices that comply with applicable employment laws will help to avoid any further legal issues.
Laws Apply to Temporary Workers as Well
Seasonal employees are often covered by state and federal labor laws, even though they are only working for a company on a temporary basis.
Just as for permanent employees, labor laws that cover harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety apply to seasonal workers too. Many of the employment laws and regulations except the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to seasonal or part-time employees as well.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), part-time and full-time employees have equal rights concerning minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor.
Seasonal workers must also be provided with certain benefits by law such as:
Unemployment benefits – Based on each state’s department of labor, temporary and seasonal employees may qualify for unemployment benefits at the conclusion of an assignment. Certain factors that determine the eligibility for unemployment compensation include:
- duration of employment
- employee’s earnings in his or her base period, and
- circumstances that led to the separation from employment or reduction in hours
If an employee loses work through no fault of his or her own, there will be no more work for the employee, but this worker may be eligible for benefits, and the employer may or may not be chargeable.
Social security and Medicare – For temporary employees, employers must withhold part of Federal and State Payroll taxes (income taxes, social security, Medicare, FUTA)taxes from their wages and employers must also pay a matching amount. In 2017, the social security tax rate is 6.2% each for the employee and employer, unchanged from 2016.
As tax withholding rules may differ based on the state, it is important to check state tax laws that relate to temporary employees.
Workers’ compensation – Workers’ compensation is designed to assist those employees hurt while performing their job. As they receive an hourly wage, have taxes deducted from their paycheck, and have filled out a Form W-4 when they began work, seasonal employees are also covered under workers’ compensation law – just as any other employee in the service of an entity.
Laws Are Not the Same with Independent Contractors
Make sure to avoid designating a seasonal worker as an independent contractor, as these contractors do not enjoy the same benefits a temporary worker does. Independent contractors are defined as self-employed individuals. Experienced in certain fields, they often work unsupervised or as part of the employer’s team. Employers are not required to provide benefits, withhold tax/Medicare/Social Security, or pay unemployment taxes to independent contractors.
Depending on business type, it is advisable that employers ask seasonal workers to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement or contract of employment. Legal transcription services help attorneys manage such employment documents for any company hiring seasonal workers.