If you run a seasonal business, or you plan on hiring seasonal employees during the peak seasons of November and December, you must be sure to follow the appropriate onboarding process. Additionally, as a small business owner, you must know the labor laws that apply to all of your employees. Seasonal employment laws are the same as the laws that apply to your permanent employees, with a few additions. Follow our checklist below to ensure that you do not forget any crucial seasonal employment steps during your busy season.
Onboarding Process and Forms for Seasonal Employees
In addition to your traditional employee onboarding process, which includes orientation and job training, your new seasonal employees will need to complete a few important forms.
Form W-4 offers your employees the chance to claim their withholding allowances. You will use each employee’s W-4 forms to calculate and withhold federal tax from their paycheck. If your state withholds income tax, employees will need to fill out a state allowance form as well. If you are re-employing a seasonal employee, they will have to fill out a new W-4 form every time they are re-hired.
Form I-9s are used to verify the identities and work authorizations of every employee. Employees must fill out the first section, which proves that they are authorized to work in the United States no later than the first day of work. You must fill out the second section of the form, in which you check employees’ identification documents within three days of the seasonal employee’s first day.
FLSA Employment Laws
The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates labor laws related to minim wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor.
Minimum Wage Requirements
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but if your state has a higher minimum wage, you must pay both permanent and seasonal employees that minimum amount.
The federal overtime pay rate is one and a half times the employee’s regular rate, and you must give overtime pay to employees that work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Some states and localities have specific overtime laws, with some requiring double-time pay, or overtime wages after an employee works over a specific number of hours a day. Check with your state to see if they have differing overtime laws from the federal requirements.
The FLSA dictates that you must keep payroll records for at least three years, regardless of how little time your seasonal employee stays with your business. You should also keep any documents related to seniority–such as evaluations, employee files, merit systems–for at least two years after the employee has left your business.
Child Labor Laws
Child labor laws apply to any person under the age of 18. These laws dictate what jobs these people can do, the times they can work, how many hours they can work at a time, and how much you can pay them.
Avoid Employee Misclassification
Take care to understand the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. Seasonal employees are not independent contractors just because they work a short amount of time. The FLSA website provides guidance on how to determine which employees are independent contractors.
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