There’s a lot of ambiguity around what’s covered for seasonal workers. Do they get a lunch break? Can they request time off? Are they covered by workers’ compensation? How many hours can they work? As the holiday shopping season peaks, so does the number of workers hired temporarily to accommodate the seasonal increase in business. Not only are many workers unfamiliar with the rights of seasonal, temp workers; employers are also often lacking knowledge in this area as well. The US Dept of Labor, Wage and Hour Division says neither workers and employers “may not be fully aware of the regulations surrounding such employment.”
In an effort to enforce compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) this holiday season, DOL and OSHA have released a list of safety, health, as well as wage and hour tips for all seasonal workers:
- New/seasonal workers are often unfamiliar with the *common* tasks of packing boxes, stocking shelves, selling merchandise, and product delivering. It is important for employers and managers to provide clear, detailed instructions for even the often-assumed common tasks. OSHA provides hands-on training in these areas.
- All workers: part-time, full-time, seasonal, volunteer, young and old have the right to report safety concerns to upper management at any time without fear of retaliation. DOL cautions employers to learn and know the hazardous jobs identified and prohibited for young workers.
- Employment rules under federal labor law apply to all workers, regardless of any status.
- Part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers are all covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. In Georgia, workers can check and track their employer’s policy with “Track Policy,” see the Online employer’s workers’ compensation coverage verification tool.
- Avoid these common holiday season labor violations: failing to pay salespeople, cashiers, and personnel for time spent opening and closing out a register; requiring warehouse and stock room personnel to work through breaks without compensation; and denying overtime pay to employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek.
- Employers must pay covered non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a work week. While state and federal laws do not define what is full-time or part-time employment or how many hours per day/per week an employee can work, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
- Neither the FLSA nor Georgia law require employers to provide employees breaks or meal periods, however many employers do provide breaks and lunch breaks. According to the Georgia DOL policy,
“The FLSA requires workers be paid for short break periods; however an employer does not have to compensate for meal periods of thirty minutes or more, as long as the workers are free to use the meal period time as they wish and are not required to perform work during that time.”
An employee’s basic protection is to know the laws and your employer rights. If you or someone you know has a question about workers compensation and temporary/seasonal employment, contact the staff at Benzo Law. If you have been injured at work, it’s important to have a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Contact Benzo Law today at (404) 480-7000 for a free consultation. If you prefer email, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.