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Set clear expectations for seasonal and temporary workers.

What mistakes can I avoid when hiring summer workers?

When hiring summer workers, employers want to be mindful that this workforce may not be as forgiving as your regular employees for mistakes on your end. This means you may want to avoid the following common mistakes when hiring summer workers that can lead to problems in the workplace:

  • Ignoring legal requirements.
  • Lowering your hiring standards.
  • Not creating clear policies for summer workers.
  • Failing to provide good training.
  • Not providing mentorship opportunities or feedback.

When it can be avoided, not lowering your standards for temporary employees can make a big difference. Hiring temporary employees who you may want to take on full-time may lead to just that down the road. While you may need workers quickly, lowering your standards may cost your business time and money, frustrate customers, and make your company look bad. If you already have excellent full-time employees on the roster, you may want to use the same hiring approach for your seasonal workers to recruit the best talent available.

Do not forget to train your new workers well. Holding seasonal and temporary workers to the same standards as all of your workers may not be fair if they have not received the same training. Include training on workplace rules and policies, in addition to on-the-job training. Problems often arise when part-time or seasonal workers are not trained properly and are unaware of policies.

You can help your seasonal and temporary workers by providing mentorship and feedback. As with other employees, you might want to find ways to support them, give feedback that lifts them up, correct mistakes, and don't forget to tell them when they do a good job.

How do benefits and taxes differ for part-time vs. full-time workers?

Whether an employee is part-time or full-time can affect the rules you must follow when it comes to providing benefits, legal compliance, and taxes. It is common for seasonal and temporary workers to be hired on as full- and part-time workers, depending on an employer’s needs.

Whether you have full-time or part-time temporary or seasonal workers, as a business owner, you likely need to withhold payroll taxes, pay for unemployment and workers' compensation insurance, and comply with federal, state, and local laws on providing benefits. Additionally, state and local law may require providing sick time to temporary and seasonal workers in either classification.

If an employee is only part-time, or hired for a short period of time, then you may not have to offer them healthcare, or other benefits, depending on your area. You may want to reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney to help you understand the legal obligations for your particular city and state.

What is the difference between seasonal and temporary employment?

Seasonal and temporary employment are alike in some ways and different in others. Temporary employees fill short-term gaps, such as for employees on leave. Temporary employees can work during any time of the year and may be hired into full-time roles if an employer chooses.

Seasonal employees are extra help for your business’s workforce during those times of the year where you expect more business. The IRS defines it as annually recurring work periods of less than 12 months each year. While these jobs may turn into permanent full-time jobs, they generally last for a few weeks or months. Examples of such workers are often found in the agricultural, retail, service, and tourism industries. While temporary workers can return for additional temporary periods of time to the same employer, this is more common for seasonal employees. Some employers may leave their recurring seasonal employees in their system from year to year, and update information only as needed.

Federal, state, and local employment laws and processes for hiring apply to all employees, regardless of the duration of their employment. Every employee should be confirmed as eligible to work before starting. Some employers may want to be mindful that there are additional requirements for noncitizens, students, and minors.

These are some examples:

  • Federal, state, and local laws. Depending on the area, all employees may have to be paid federal minimum wage or the state or local basic wage. Also, you usually must pay seasonal or temporary workers 1.5 times their regular wage for overtime, which is any time over 40 hours per week. Hiring for the summer may affect your employees' benefits under the Affordable Care Act, so it is wise to keep an eye on the number of hours your employees work.
  • Foreign labor laws. If you want to hire a foreign summer worker, you will likely need to apply for an H-2B work authorization. The Department of Labor must check and approve seasonal jobs. These jobs must be advertised in the U.S. first so that American workers can have a chance to apply.
  • Child labor laws. The Department of Labor also has rules about child labor. Children ages 14-15 may work outside the home but cannot hold jobs that are dangerous, such as in manufacturing. They can work only for limited amounts of time and under certain conditions. The Code of Federal Regulations provides a list of jobs allowed for children. Children 16 and 17 years old may work for unlimited hours in any job except for those the Department of Labor says are dangerous.

Your hiring documents usually spell out whether your seasonal worker is part-time, full-time, or simply a temporary employee. However the employee is classified, employers may want to take the time to understand their legal obligations. It can also be helpful to clearly explain and outline your policies and expectations for your seasonal employees. Clear communication from the outset can help set the stage for a mutually beneficial relationship with temporary and seasonal employees.

If you have more questions about hiring temporary or seasonal summer help, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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