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Do Seasonal Holiday Employees Have Any Rights?

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 20, 2010 5:45 AM

Holidays are in full swing. Stores are busy and in need of extra hands to help meet the demands of last minute shopping. Last year alone retailers hired 453,600 seasonal holiday employees to work between October and January, according to Inc.

Working as a seasonal holiday employee has its advantages: make extra money over the holidays, short-term work schedule, etc. 

But the unique employment position also begs the question, what rights do seasonal holiday employees have?

The simple answer to that question is no. Much like a contract worker, the rights a seasonal holiday employee enjoys are very limited unless specifically granted by his or her employer. Although employers are still subject to state and federal laws and illegal behavior is still illegal, seasonal holiday employee rights do not allow for extra perks such as healthcare, unemployment benefits (once the time with the company ends) or other types of extras permanent employees enjoy.

Another area of concern that a seasonal holiday employee should be aware of is the potential for full-time employment. Many companies and retailers hire seasonal workers but mention the possibility of a long-term position if the employment works out.

Unfortunately, unless there is a contract or the job is based on an identifiable maker (not simply, if you do a good job), then it is more of a promise that could be broken than any type of enforceable contract.

That is not to say that a permanent position is impossible, just that it is not the sure thing it may be advertised to be. Knowing your rights before getting into a position is the best way to prepare for the time with the company, however short it is and make the experience much more enjoyable.

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