During the holiday season, you may consider hiring seasonal workers to help in operating your business. In fact, many businesses employ seasonal workers for a limited duration of only a few weeks. Both employers benefit by having the extra hands available during a busy time, and employees benefit from being able to make extra income for the holidays.

When hiring seasonal employees, it is necessary to understand the laws and regulations that apply to both your business and the workers.  For example, federal labor laws apply to all workers, not just those on the regular payroll.  This includes the laws covering harassment, discrimination, health and safety regulations.  In addition, the laws concerning minimum wage, overtime pay, and record keeping apply under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Under New York State law, a seasonal employee is also entitled to unemployment benefits, unless that type of employment is specifically excluded.  In addition, Social Security and Medicare must be withheld, and Workers’ Compensation Laws still apply.  In general, it is unnecessary to provide seasonal employees with benefits such as retirement plans and medical insurance.  It is best to make employees aware in advance whether you plan to provide additional benefits, and clarify the duration of the employment to avoid confusion in the future.

If you are employing an independent contractor in lieu of a seasonal worker, different regulations apply.  Because they are hired-not employed by you- you are not required to provide them with benefits, or withhold taxes.  However, you may still have obligations to report their compensation to the IRS, if it is $600 or over.

If you are planning on hiring seasonal employees at your business, contact an experienced business law attorney who can advise you and explain the laws concerning employment and small businesses.  Call the business attorneys at Bellavia Blatt, PC at (516) 873-3000 or (631) 224-7000.