As a small business owner, there’s a lot to think about — especially during the busy holiday season. From accurately calculating overtime pay to ensuring your employees are safe from frenzied shoppers and crowds, you want to be sure that you’re aware and understand the rules and regulations that surround this time of the year so that your employees stay protected and your business stays compliant. The last thing you’ll want to deal with this holiday season are penalties and fees. Here are a few ways your small business can stay legal during this busy holiday season.
Learn the HR Basics
If you’re like most small business owners, you wear many, many hats. You may be your own marketing department, creating display ads for brand awareness. You may be your own sales department, making cold calls to local businesses. You may also be your own human resources department, handling all the employee paperwork. But if you have employees or work with independent contractors, there are basic compliance laws that you should be well aware of if you’re handling the human resources department all by yourself.
Learn more about holiday pay, overtime pay on holidays, and vacation pay in our Working on a Holiday blog post. It explains pay guidelines to keep your business legal. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have a Human Resources 101 guide that’ll give a quick rundown of all the HR basics you need to know to run a compliant business.
Create Employee Contracts
Whether you’ve hired additional seasonal employees or not this holiday season, it’s always important to draft up an Employee Contract. An Employee Contract allows you to outline the details of the employment, like salary, hours, benefits, and length of employment. It helps everyone to get on the same page. If your small business requires extra hours from your employees during this busy shopping period, be sure you stipulate the terms and conditions of overtime pay in the Employee Contract.
Have a Set Employee Handbook in Place
The law is generally on the side of business owners. For instance, did you know that the law does not require employers to offer paid holidays? That decision may make your popularity drop among your employees, but in the eyes of the law, it’s completely legal. But whether you provide paid time-off on holidays or not, it’s vital that you have this written in your Employee Handbook. Be sure that your employees sign it when they are onboarding so everyone is well aware of paid holidays, as well as other important rules and policies surrounding your company.
If your small business does not provide paid time-off during this holiday season and your employee takes New Year’s Day off, you’re not required to pay for any time not worked.
Establish Worker Safety Guidelines
The holiday season usually brings out the best in us, but sometimes it can bring out the worst — especially if bargains and last-minute shopping stress are involved. Take a look at the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) guidelines for crowd management safety. It gives you a great overview of everything you should know to prepare for any busy time at your business. It’s an important step to take so that you can create a safe workplace for employees and a safe shopping environment for customers.
How have you prepared for the busy holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!