Seasonal hires can present unique concerns for employers. Some businesses need extra hands during the holidays, while others may need to supplement their numbers during the summer. Whatever the reason for additional hires at a particular time of year or for a specific project, there are a number of things employers need to be mindful of.
Because of the nature of the employment relationship with seasonal employees (i.e., transitory), it can be tempting to treat the employment relationship far more casually than one would with regular hires. But this can be a costly mistake. Employment-related lawsuits have been brought successfully against employers based on incredibly short employment relationships, even those lasting mere days.
So what should employers do? In a nutshell, business as usual; all the regular rules apply. For example, check references. Have a documented hiring process, from the application through the interview and decision-making process. Have seasonal hires review and sign off on the employee handbook, or at least on important policies, such as harassment and confidentiality. Make sure all hires accurately and thoroughly complete I-9 forms. Determine whether seasonal employees are exempt or non-exempt, pursuant to the FLSA and for overtime purposes. And have some kind of orientation/on-boarding process for your seasonal hires to acclimate them to your particular culture. They represent you and your business just as your regular employees do.