Hiring Seasonal Workers – The Dos and Don’ts
By Amanda at Sage HR Advice
Christmas is nearly here, and that can mean many things for small businesses.
But for many SMEs, Christmas can mean a seasonal spike in sales and productivity. While that’s obviously a great way to end the year, it’s important that you have plans put in place to cope with the increased demand.
One way to cover this peak time is to employ casual workers, on a short-term, temporary basis. However, you need to make sure you do it right. To help, here are our dos and don’ts of hiring seasonal workers. Consider it an early Christmas present from us to you.
- Remember that if you employ seasonal or casual workers under a contract of employment, they are employees, and enjoy the same statutory rights as your other employees.
- Provide these casual workers with a contract of employment in the first two months of their employment.
- Make sure the contract is clear, that it is for a specified purpose and that once complete the contract will end. Ensure that it is clear that the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-2007 will not apply where the only reason for terminating the contract is the expiry of the specified purpose.
- Remember that if there is no contract in place, their status may not be clear, and in the event of a dispute, it will be for the courts to decide whether they are classed as employed or self-employed.
- Forget that if someone works on an irregular basis, but over a period of time, they may be able to claim continuous employment, under an implied contract of employment or a contract that has lapsed with no communication to the employee. This means that the employee has an expectation that work will be provided and they are effectively a permanent employee.
- Overlook that if you wish to employ casual workers at certain times of the year, you can offer a fixed-term/specified purpose contract, which confirms a fixed, limited period of employment. Employed casual workers are protected by the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003, which requires that employees on fixed term contracts are treated no less favourably than similar employees on indefinite contracts.
- Forget to confirm to the employee that the contract has ended.
They key to any kind of employment, including seasonal workers, is to clearly define the terms and conditions in a written contract of employment. In doing that, you’ll reduce the risk of any kind of dispute, meaning that you and your employees, whether temporary or permanent, can enjoy a productive Christmas season.
Did you know that Sage provide Human Resource Advice? As well as translating the law into plain English, we will notify you of forthcoming legislative changes and give you all the tools you need to remain compliant.
For more information or to take a product tour visit the Sage HR Advice page.