If your business has been getting busier during the holiday season, or any other time of the year, you may have plans to hire seasonal employees this year. There are many benefits employers get from hiring seasonal workers. They get temporary coverage when they need it as opposed to paying for a full-time employee all year round. Seasonal hiring gives employers an outside perspective on improvements that can be made to their business’s day-to-day activities. Seasonal hiring also allows employers to give workers a trial run at the company before deciding if they think that employee would be a good full-time fit for the company. But there are also certain risks that come with seasonal hiring. To help you avoid seasonal hiring mistakes, here are some precautions you should take:
1) Be careful how you classify seasonal workers
With the gig economy freelance phenomenon taking off in recent years, some employers may assume it’s ok to classify a temporary seasonal employee as an “independent contractor”. But this is one of the common seasonal hiring mistakes that can potentially cause your business legal and financial trouble. If the employer is any way controlling how and where the individual’s work is performed, they cannot classify that individual as an independent contractor. The IRS website is a helpful resource to help employers learn more about how to classify employees.
If your business intends on hiring unpaid interns, you also need to make sure the job you want them to perform falls under legal requirements for unpaid interns. Before hiring unpaid interns, make sure your business thoroughly reviews the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under this law, unpaid internships are meant to be mostly an educational experience for the intern, and they cannot be used to displace regular employees.
2) Do background checks where applicable
Having a lot of new employees starting at the same time can increase the risks of issues such as employee theft and false worker’s compensation claims. Avoid seasonal hiring mistakes by doing background checks on potential employees. Background checks are especially important if employees will be handling money, operating heavy machinery, have access to sensitive information about the company or will be interacting with a lot of clients and especially children.
You can easily perform background checks of potential employees’ criminal histories, driving histories, and call previous employers for professional references. If something comes up in a potential employee’s background check, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should be disqualified. But if you can draw a direct link to a potential risk in the job they are being considered for, you will be avoiding a lot of possible trouble in the future. For example, you may not want to hire a candidate with a recent history of violence for a job that already involves physical risks.
3) Watch out for overtime pay
One of the common seasonal hiring mistakes that employers run into is payroll issues such as failing to give overtime pay to employees, or giving it to employees that aren’t entitled to it. Usually, it’s only non-exempt employees you need to worry about giving overtime pay to if they work over 40 hours in a single week. The rate for overtime is usually 1.5 times their normal hourly wage, but check your local laws to make sure you are properly following overtime requirements.
4) Require employee physicals
If seasonal jobs at your business tend to be physically demanding, requiring potential employees to have physicals done prior to employment is a helpful way to avoid seasonal hiring mistakes. This can help your business cut down the risk of worker’s compensation claims and lawsuits from employee injuries. Potential employees could have physical issues that even they aren’t aware of, let alone your business. Being aware of these issues can help you greatly decrease the chances of employee injuries.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.