If your business operates its onboarding based on busy periods, odds are you are familiar with the process of hiring seasonal staff. Unfortunately, seasonal employment isn’t always easy and can come with its challenges. Within this resource, we will discuss seasonal employment and explain the best methods employers can practice to combat the obstacles involved with seasonal staffing.
What Is Seasonal Employment?
Seasonal employment is a process that describes the hiring of staff members to perform temporary work during a specific period of time. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a seasonal employee is “an employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less and for which the period of employment begins each calendar year in approximately the same part of the year, such as summer or winter.”
Seasonal employment hiring practices are usually utilized by jobs that have “busy periods” of time where they have more business and need more support from staff members. For example, a ski resort may hire seasonal staff to work during the winter, which would be their busiest period. Another example could be a summer camp employing workers to act as camp counselors during the summer season, specifically the months when campers would be out of school on summer vacation.
Seasonal employment is temporary and can often occur even for businesses that operate all year round yet require more workers when they are busiest. An example of this would be retailers. While a retail business may be open year round, it can practice seasonal employment by hiring more temporary, seasonal retailers during the holiday seasons when they need more help.
How Does Seasonal Employment Benefit Employers?
Seasonal employment can be quite advantageous to workers, as they can assist their permanent team members when they have more work to complete. Seasonal employment is an excellent solution to support a workforce during onramp seasons and when they have to perform more work tasks due to increased product and service demand. They are also an economical staffing method when it comes to rules for health benefits, but we’ll chat more about that later in this piece.
How Does Seasonal Employment Benefit Employees?
While seasonal employment can benefit employers who need more workers during specific times, seasonal employment can also benefit employees who wish to perform work only during specific times. Seasonal employment can be quite advantageous for workers looking for open positions, as they can choose between an increased number of available jobs that exist for those looking to make extra income or aren’t looking for anything long-term. Examples of this could be travelers visiting a location for a limited amount of time who want to work during their stay. Students on break from college or school can also benefit from seasonal employment to earn income during their break when they have extra time on their hands.
Once the seasonal employment period ends, seasonal employees can return to their other responsibilities and activities without worrying about quitting their jobs on short notice, as both the employer and employee understand their seasonal employment period once it is arranged.
Most Common Challenges Companies Face Hiring Seasonally
As previously stated, employers can face their fair share of challenges when hiring seasonal workers. These challenges often involve certain factors such as increased turnover, the ages of the workers available, minimum wage and overtime work structures, and health benefits for seasonal staff. These factors can be difficult to navigate, especially for first-time seasonal employers. Read on, as we’ll discuss some of these common challenges and the best ways to address them to ensure success for your organization during its busy season.
No organizational leader wants to deal with high levels of employee turnover. However, with seasonal staff members, high turnover is par for the course. After all, employers of seasonal staff rarely intend on retaining these workers past the end of their busy season. Additionally, hiring staff for such a temporary period of time can result in decreased loyalty to your organization from these seasonal staff members, making turnover all the more common.
With high staff turnover can come various issues for your organization. Not only can they require more effort to onboard new staff to address turnover, but they can be a money drain on your company. Looking for and hiring new staff takes up money and time that businesses often don’t have spare during the peak season rush.
To combat the issue of high turnover for seasonal positions, the best thing you can do is to make your workers feel comfortable and confident in their roles and the workplace. This can be done through proper training for new seasonal staff members and implementing an appropriate adjustment period for hiring new staff. This way, seasonal workers are less likely to leave their positions due to stress and burnout from working in busy periods.
An excellent way to hire quality workers to fill your seasonal positions would be by utilizing Adia’s on-demand staffing platform, which will cut down on the hiring costs as well as on the effort used to market the available jobs. Additionally, all of the workers on Adia’s staffing platform are pre-vetted, so you can trust that they will be reliable employees that you can trust to carry out your seasonal jobs.
A common factor in hiring seasonal employees is that most of the workers available are of younger ages. Since many workers are looking for seasonal positions to fill while they are on break from school, this can mean that many of the employees available for hire will be young teenagers to younger adults. Unfortunately, hiring younger workers can come with its difficulties. A younger worker likely possesses less job experience and, therefore, may require more assistance in carrying out work processes. Additionally, some younger employees may be less mature and care less about following company policy standards. Finally, younger employees who are minors likely have their needs met by guardians and may be less serious about performing well in their seasonal positions, as they have less need for the income they will be earning.
Each employee is different, and proper training and leadership are the best way to manage a seasonal employee, regardless of age. However, when hiring younger employees, your organization must comply with various rules for employing underage workers to ensure a safe and supportive environment for your younger seasonal staff members. Be sure to read up on the rules and regulations within your area to ensure compliance with all necessary procedures. However, keep in mind that when state youth employment law differs from a federal provision or policy, employers must comply with the higher standard.
The youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act were created to ensure that when younger employees work, their jobs do not negatively affect their health, well-being, or educational opportunities. Children 14 and 15 years of age may be employed outside of school hours in various non-manufacturing and non-hazardous workplace jobs for limited periods and under specified workplace conditions. However, any work that is not specifically permitted for these 14- and 15-year-old youth, as listed in the Department’s child labor regulations, is prohibited. For a list of approved occupations, see the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Part 570.34. In addition, 16 and 17-year-olds employees may work for unlimited hours in any occupation other than those declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. Workers are only subject to the federal youth employment provisions until they reach 18 years of age. To ensure proper knowledge of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and learn more about the 17 hazardous occupations defined by the Secretary of Labor, visit WHD Fact Sheet #43, Youth Employment Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Nonagricultural Occupations.
Minimum Wage and Overtime
Since your seasonal staff members will be working temporarily, they will likely maintain part-time hourly employment. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has rules and guidelines for part-time and seasonal employment that all employers must abide by. The FLSA establishes the minimum wage rules, overtime pay, and recordkeeping employment standards for private industries and federal, state, and local governments.
For seasonal employment, the FLSA states that employers must pay their seasonal staff members either their federal minimum wage or their state minimum wage, whichever amount is higher. Therefore, overtime pay should be provided for all seasonal employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week. Overtime pay should be calculated for each hour in excess of their 40 hours worked per week and should be one and one-half times the amount of their regular pay rate.
As for taxes, seasonal employees have the same tax withholding rules as regular workers. Be sure to check the state and local employment and tax regulations within your area to ensure that you are appropriately following all tax procedures. Employers may visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Businesses with Employees page for more information about seasonal employees’ minimum wage and overtime rules.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also provides rules involving employment to promote equal employment opportunity. The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and home life responsibilities and states that employers must allow employees to take reasonable unpaid time off for certain family and medical reasons. Read up on the FMLA for more information about these employment laws.
Determining whether or not you are required to provide seasonal employees health benefits can be confusing. Luckily, we can clear that up for you. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) considers employees to be seasonal workers if the expected time period of their employment is six months or less. Furthermore, the ACA says that seasonal employees who are expected to work for your company for six months or less are not required to receive any health benefits from their employer. Therefore, if you are hiring seasonal staff members for under six months, you would not be obligated to provide them with health insurance, even after they have worked past their four-month mark.
How Can Hiring Seasonal Employees Help Your Business
Hiring seasonal employees can provide tremendous benefits to your organization or business. They support your permanent staff members during busy times when your team needs them the most. Additionally, a temporary employee who works for six months or less does not require health benefits, making this staffing option an economical choice for your business. Hiring seasonally is a preferable and more cost-effective choice for companies who require extra help during busy periods, as they won’t need to be employed during slow times and will likely receive smaller benefits compared to regular staff. While hiring seasonal staff members may come with challenges, the best way to support your team’s success is to provide them with proper training and follow the appropriate employment laws and guidelines for seasonal staff.
If you are interested in bringing on seasonal staff members to your team, Adia’s on-demand staffing system can help. The Adia staffing platform can make hiring new seasonal staff members an even smoother and cheaper process. We match qualified, pre-vetted workers with employers looking to fill their seasonal, temporary, and long-term positions.