Questions Employers Seek Answers to When Hiring Seasonal Employees

For many retail stores, restaurants, shops, and other consumer-centric businesses the holiday season means an increase in customers frequenting stores, increases in purchases, and hence forth the need to increase or augment staff to deal with the influx of business. Holiday shopping, celebrations, and other events usually draw out larger numbers of customers. Business owners, managers, and directors know that in order to meet the spike in demand they need additional employees to assist in capitalizing effectively on the seasonal opportunities. Too many times, businesses that fail to staff their shifts correctly can suffer lost sales, or poor customer service both which can lead to damaged customer relationships in the future or no repeat business.

Wise managers plan before the season kickoff and strategize how they will handle the bump in business. To do this, seasonal workers or additional part-time employees, waiters, staff, and personnel are hired. For business owners and managers who are veterans to holiday seasons probably don’t get too much anxiety over staffing issues; however, if you are a new manager, scheduler, or owner you may want to make sure you are functioning within the applicable seasonal, youth and part-time federal and state employment regulations .

A big question that arises for many schedulers, managers, and directors is pay rates for weekends, and holidays worked by full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. The Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that overtime pay is not requires for work on weekends, or holidays unless the employee has worked overtime on such days. Meaning, if an employee works in excess of 40 hours in a workweek and those hours are accumulated on the weekend or the holiday then the employee must be compensated one and one-half times their regular rates of pay . Since the FLSA does not regulate vacation pay, holiday pay, severance pay, sick pay, meal or rest periods, pay raises or fringe benefits, discharge notices, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees it is important to research your state’s laws in this regard.

Another question that looms in the minds of management is how to classify their employees. Deciphering between classifying temporary help as full-time and part-time employees depends on the needs of your business. The FLSA does not set parameters for the classification between these two groups. However, most states classify part-time as employees that work 35 hours or less per week. Part-time employees are usually paid hourly, and are covered by both FLSA and OSHA’s safety and health policies. Additional state laws and company policies must be taken into consideration as well.

One last question employers face is what rate to pay their seasonal employees. FLSA mandates a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In most cases, state minimum wages tend to be higher, and as such the higher rate is what the employer is required to pay. As long as the hourly rate falls within or above the federal minimum wage the employer sets the pay rate.

The best practices to have a successful holiday season are to prepare ahead of time, make projections based on your company’s historical data or best guess for your first year to create shifts in your schedules that include additional staff members to cover the increase in business, utilize software tools to help you manage your staff members, research the federal and state laws that apply to your business, and attempt to optimize your schedule to avoid paying too much in overtime costs.