As the holiday season approaches, many businesses are gearing up for increased activity by hiring temporary staff to meet the demands of the bustling shopping season and cover for vacationing employees. Ensuring that these seasonal workers receive the same level of training as your permanent staff is crucial to fostering a fair, respectful, and safe working environment. Here are some valuable tips for employing seasonal workers while staying compliant with the law this holiday season.
1. Treat All Employees with Respect and Fairness
It’s essential to remember that temporary employees enjoy the same legal protections against discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, as their permanent counterparts. Federal and state laws mandate that all employees, regardless of their employment status—be it full-time, part-time, temporary, or contracted—must be shielded from misconduct based on factors such as race, color, national origin, sex, religion, pregnancy, disability, age, citizenship status, genetic information, and military service obligations.
Moreover, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) grants seasonal employees the right to reasonable accommodation from the very first day of employment, irrespective of the hours they work, unless it places an undue hardship on the business.
Key Takeaway: Ensure comprehensive training for both new hires and managers on identifying, reporting, and addressing workplace discrimination and harassment. Teach bystanders how to safely intervene when they witness misconduct, and emphasize that retaliation for reporting concerns is strictly unlawful. It’s equally crucial to equip managers with the knowledge and skills to handle requests for reasonable accommodation. Make sure that your temporary employees complete this training, along with code of conduct training, as part of their onboarding process to familiarize themselves with your organization’s policies, procedures, and ethical behavior expectations.
2. Fair Compensation: Paying Overtime for Hours Worked Beyond 40
Seasonal employees are protected under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dictates minimum wage and overtime requirements. In most cases, temporary workers must receive overtime pay when they exceed 40 hours of work in a single week. Overtime pay should be calculated at one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay.
Certain seasonal employees at amusement parks, recreational establishments, organized camps, religious or nonprofit educational institutions, which include venues like beaches, golf courses, swimming pools, boardwalks, stadiums, summer camps, ice skating rinks, and zoos, are exempt from overtime pay under specific conditions:
- The company operates for no more than seven months in a calendar year, or
- The average receipts for any six months of the preceding year do not exceed 33% of the average receipts for the other six months.
Key Takeaway: Ensure that new hires and managers are well-versed in employee rights pertaining to fair labor standards.
3. Prioritize a Safe Work Environment
A safe working environment is a universal desire for all employees. Whether you’re employing seasonal workers in an office, retail, restaurant, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, or construction setting, it’s essential to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training requirements. Establish a comprehensive Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) policy and proactively enforce safety protocols to stay in compliance with federal and state guidelines.
Safety training serves to raise awareness about potential workplace hazards that temporary employees may encounter in their roles. In businesses that interact with the public, such as restaurants, retail establishments, and other service providers, safety training also ensures the protection of customers and visitors.
No industry is exempt from the necessity of robust safety training. You can find a complete list of safety requirements and industry-specific training in OSHA’s Training Requirements publication, and you can access a listing of state-required safety training by following this link.
Whether it’s enhancing workplace ergonomics to ensure seasonal employees work comfortably and productively, teaching new hires how to confidently operate a fire extinguisher to safeguard their colleagues and property, or ensuring that seasonal staff are well-versed in evacuation routes and emergency response plans, OSHA safety training is instrumental in saving lives, preventing injuries, and maintaining overall well-being.
Key Takeaway: Provide new hires with the necessary environmental, health, and safety training tailored to the potential hazards they may encounter in their specific job roles.
Training Is a Shared Responsibility
If you’re utilizing a staffing agency to fulfill your seasonal staffing needs, it’s essential to understand that the responsibility for training temporary employees is shared between the staffing agency and the host employer. Typically, the staffing agency provides generic information and training, while the host employer is responsible for delivering site-specific training. This training must be identical to or equivalent to the training provided to permanent employees performing similar work.
By adhering to federal and state policies, training requirements, notice obligations, and posting requirements, organizations can safeguard their employees and customers against misconduct, unfair practices, accidents, and illnesses. This commitment not only mitigates the risk of legal liabilities, lost wages, medical expenses, workers’ compensation claims, violations, and penalties for non-compliance but also reinforces a culture of safety and compliance within your organization.
Discover Traliant’s Courses on the Q Store for Comprehensive Compliance Training!
Looking to enhance your organization’s compliance training efforts? Explore Traliant’s online training programs available right here on the Q Store. These courses cover critical topics such as Preventing Discrimination and Harassment, Reasonable Accommodation, Code of Conduct, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Environmental, Health, and Safety.
Traliant’s courses are designed with real-world video scenarios and interactive challenges to ensure effective and engaging learning experiences for your staff.
Ready to Elevate Your Compliance Training?
Find the perfect training solutions for your seasonal and permanent staff on the Q Store. Contact our team today to kickstart the training process and empower your employees with the knowledge they need to thrive in a compliant workplace.