Don't Break the Law When Hiring Holiday Help - Free Enterprise
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Don't Break the Law When Hiring Holiday Help

With holiday shoppers set to give retailers a boost, 'tis the season for hiring temporary employees.

While you may only need holiday workers for a short period of time, you still typically need to comply with the same employment laws for these temporary workers as you would for full-time employees. Otherwise, you could risk costly employment lawsuits and other consequences.

Here are five things you need to know when hiring seasonal workers, as highlighted by the Small Business Administration (SBA):

  1. Employment Laws Still Apply. Laws that cover sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety will apply to seasonal workers. So you may need to train temporary workers on proper workplace etiquette and ensure that they are paid properly as required by state and federal wage and hour laws.
  2. Independent Contractors May Be Employees. Just because you designate an independent contractor as such, this does not necessarily mean he's automatically an independent contractor. There are strict requirements for a worker to qualify as an independent contractor who is exempt from certain employment laws. If you are making this designation, you will want to talk to an employment attorney.
  3. Legally Required Benefits. Seasonal employees are entitled to certain benefits pursuant to the law. These benefits vary by state and can include unemployment, Social Security and Medicare, and worker's compensation benefits.
  4. Tax Withholdings. Part-time and seasonal employees are subject to the same tax withholding rules that apply to other employees, according to the SBA.
  5. Background Checks. Your employees -- long-term and temporary -- are a reflection on you and your business. If your employee harasses a customer or commits a crime, you could be personally liable as an employer. Especially if your business works with certain groups like children or the elderly, you may want to conduct thorough background checks on your seasonal workers before bringing them on board.

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