Many businesses find it necessary to hire temporary employees to keep up during busy times. Whether your company needs extra staff for the tourist season, holiday shopping rush or another demanding period, you will want to know the laws regarding hiring and employing these types of workers. Many of the regulations that apply to full-time or regular staff also cover temporary workers, and following the rules ensures easy transitions and helps your company avoid legal tangles. Part-time employees are regulated by most of the same laws as full-time staffers but receive few legally-determined benefits.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, is the gold-standard in employment law for traditional employees, both full and part-time. This broad set of regulations also offers coverage for temporary and seasonal workers, giving them the same rights and protections as regular staff members. This set of laws regulates minimum wage, overtime compensation, child labor and recordkeeping.
Additional labor laws are set forth by both federal and state agencies and cover interim employees as well as regular workers. Protection against discrimination and harassment is available to both groups, and each is entitled by these laws to a safe, healthy workplace.
Traditionally, employers are not required to provide the same benefits to temporary workers, though there are a few exceptions. State laws and federal guidelines regarding the following benefit classes should be considered before hiring interim workers:
•Retirement and medical benefits: Seasonal workers are not usually eligible to receive medical or retirement benefits. However, some temporary workers may be eligible for programs through their employment agency.
•Paid and sick leave: While employers are not usually required by law to provide vacation days for temporary employees, these workers may still be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act. This set of regulations provides time off for employees who must care for an ill spouse, parent or child. Employers who had some control over the selection of seasonal employees, as opposed to those who received workers from an agency without selecting individuals, will likely need to comply with FMLA regulations for temporary staff members.
•Unemployment benefits: Temporary workers are normally entitled to the same unemployment benefits that federal and state laws allow for regular employees. The law regarding unemployment benefits differs for seasonal workers, who are usually denied protection due to the fleeting nature of their position.
•Workers compensation: No matter the type of employees you hire, your company must carry worker’s compensation insurance. Coverage can be found through self-insured options, state plans or a private carrier.
The law regarding tax withholding and reporting requirements differs based on the type of employee and how much compensation they receive in a calendar year. When hiring independent contractors, employers are exempt from paying any benefits or withholding taxes, but must still report earnings of $600 or more to the IRS.
Tax laws regarding withholding for standard employees also apply to temporary and seasonal workers. Employers must withhold Social Security and Medicare amounts as they would for permanent staff members. Employers must also contribute a matching amount in concordance with standard procedure.
Part-time employment is defined at the state level and is usually specified as work totaling 35 or fewer hours per week. While these workers are obligated to comply with company policies and regulations, they are not entitled to many of the benefits that full-time employees enjoy. Paid holidays and leave, health benefits and access to the company retirement plan are usually not required for these workers. For some workers who put in over 1,000 or more hours in a year, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act offers access to retirement savings.
Researching state and federal regulations provides clarity for employers looking to hire workers to fill a temporary gap, a part-time position or seasonal employment.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.