Summer Hiring – Are You Ready?

alarm clock and chalkboard with the text summer time

It may be hard to believe, but summer is less than six weeks away.

More than four out of every 10 employers plan to hire seasonal workers for the summer, according to a survey released last week by the job search website CareerBuilder.

If you are one of them, be sure you consider some of the potential compliance challenges that can arise when hiring summer help.

Child Labor

Will you be hiring minors? If so, it’s important to bear in mind that federal law and most state laws restrict the hours during which minors may work, including:

  • The maximum number of hours and/or days a minor may work per week;
  • The maximum number of hours a minor may work per day; and
  • Certain timing restrictions such as the times of day during which minors may work and any restrictions forbidding a minor from working while school is in session.

Many child labor laws also forbid minors from working in certain occupations, require employers to maintain proof of age for all employees, and more.

Unpaid Interns

Almost all interns should be classified as employees. As a result, you usually can’t just pay them with “valuable real-world experience”; you have to pay them cold, hard cash – the applicable federal, state or local minimum wage, whichever is highest, for all hours worked. In very rare cases in which an internship meets certain very strict criteria, it’s possible to have an unpaid internship. If you do, be sure to follow these steps.

Coverage Thresholds

Most federal and state employment laws include coverage thresholds. These laws do not apply to smaller employers, depending on their size. A few laws exclude summer hires and other temporary employees from their coverage thresholds. For example, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act applies only to employers that have employed 50 or more employees for each working day during at least 20 calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. But under most other laws, summer hires could mean the difference between having to comply with a law and not.

Joint Employment

If you’re hiring summer help from a temporary staffing agency, don’t forget that there is a possibility you could be considered a joint employer under a variety of employment laws. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that “staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers – including, for example, ensuring that OSHA’s training, hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled.”

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