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'Tis the Season to Make Holiday Hiring Plans

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 23, 2013 12:51 PM

Fall has just begun, but holiday hiring plans are already in full swing. The Orlando Sentinel reports Walmart will hire roughly 55,000 seasonal employees for the holidays this year; Target plans to hire about 70,000 employees this holiday season, down from the 80,000 it hired last year, according to the Star Tribune.

As you get your holiday hiring plans in order, 'tis the season to keep these legal reminders in mind about hiring seasonal employees:

  1. Special rules guide youth employment. During the holidays, cash-strapped students often try to fill their extra free time with seasonal employment. Employers gain a temporary workforce at an affordable price. But remember, seasonal youth employment is subject to special rules and restrictions.
  2. Seasonal employees are (usually) entitled to minimum wage and overtime. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), part-time and full-time employees have equal rights concerning minimum wage and overtime pay as they do to any other employee. However, there are a number of industries that are "overtime exempt" when it comes to seasonal employees, so you'll want to check the specific law in your jurisdiction.
  3. Standard labor laws still apply. Laws that cover sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety will apply to seasonal workers, according to the Small Business Administration, so excellent employee training regarding their rights and responsibilities is key. Make sure to address these issues in the employee handbook, too.
  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. Seasonal employees may be entitled to benefits. If you are hiring employees -- not independent contractors -- regardless of whether they are seasonal or not, you still must provide certain benefits by law such as unemployment benefits, Social Security/Medicare and workers' compensation. However, employers typically need not offer "fringe" or "soft" benefits like paid leave, retirement plans and medical insurance.

When hiring extra help for the upcoming busy season, your experienced employment lawyer can help you keep abreast of regulations surrounding such employment.

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