Hiring Seasonal Workers: What Employers Need to Know

Written by on May 17, 2022 in Employment Law Blog, Employment Law Issues
seasonal workers

Now that we are coming out of the 2nd pandemic winter, some businesses are starting to plan ahead for a busier summer season. Some Canadian employers may be looking to hire seasonal employees to help them get through – even if they need to do layoffs in future.

Hiring seasonal workers, however, may not be as easy and straightforward as it sounds. There are a few things employers should keep in mind before they start hiring.

Different types of seasonal employees

Employers need to be aware that there are two different kinds of seasonal employees, and they need to be clear about exactly what they are hiring for.

The two different types of seasonal employees are

  • Employees who return to the same position every year, for the same season.
  • Employees who are only hired to work for this one season, with no guarantee of returning to employment next year.

What rights do seasonal employees have?

Since you are only hiring for the season, and these employees will not be full time on your staff, you may be wondering how the rights of these seasonal employees compare to those of your regular full-time staff.

Seasonal employees have most of the same rights as your full-time employees, including minimum wage, overtime, vacation time, and hours of work.

In addition to those items, seasonal employees are often guaranteed a notice of termination (depending on the kind of contract they have signed).

Contracts for seasonal employees

Since seasonal workers are employed with a company for such a short period of time, many companies will overlook the need for them to have legitimate contracts like their other employees have.

Having these contracts for seasonal workers can be beneficial for both the employee and the employer. These contracts usually include a start date of employment, position, wages, the expected hours of work and an end date of employment. Knowing these terms at the start of employment can help avoid misunderstandings between the employer and the employee and help protect both sides when the term of the employment ends. A termination clause is also helpful in the event you wish to terminate an employee’s employment prior to the end date.

In this contract, as an employer, you will also want to make it very clear that there is no guarantee of employment for a particular season. Of course, you may still decide to reach out to former employees the following year – especially if they were helpful and reliable – and offer them employment again. However, making sure that the contract clarifies the employment offer is only for the season does help to ensure that you are protected.

Final thoughts

Even though your seasonal employees will only be with you for a short period of time each year, it’s important to remember that – for that time – they are just like your full-time employees. They have the same rights to minimum wages and vacation pay that your other employees have.

Additionally, by giving your seasonal employees a great experience with sufficient training means you will likely have employees that come back year after year – and that can save you time and money since those who are coming back often already know the job expectations and how to work within your company.

How Minken Employment Lawyers Can Help

Do you have questions about hiring seasonal employees or require help in drafting their employment contracts? We can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced employment lawyers or call us at 905-477-7011 for assistance prior to taking any steps that may expose you to legal liability.

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Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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