Keven Moore: It’s ‘peak season’ – the risks of hiring seasonal workers

Ah, high seasons. You know the drill – as a business owner or manager, you get more business than you can handle and need an extra pair of hands to help you through the busiest times of the year. year. What are you doing? You turn to seasonal workers for help.

As a one-time seasonal employee when I was in college, I was hired to unload trucks at UPS during the Christmas holiday season. This eventually led me to a part-time position where I really learned the value of hard work.

Keven Moore works in risk management services. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University, and more than 25 years of experience in the security and insurance industry. He is also an expert witness. He lives in Lexington with his family and works both in Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com

Seasonal employment is temporary employment that occurs at a specific time of year and is a great way to supplement your regular workforce during peak periods, such as busy seasons or holidays. Seasonal workers can help fill labor gaps and accomplish much-needed tasks and responsibilities without employers having to hire full-time employees who may no longer be needed once the turmoil subsides.

This need may be based on industry demands, financial reasons, or increased consumer traffic, such as during the holiday season. Seasonal employment is more common in certain industries, such as delivery services, manufacturing, retail, ski resorts and agriculture. Hiring seasonal employees has many advantages in terms of labor flexibility, cost effective labor and trial employment.

Hiring seasonal workers to fill labor shortages can be both beneficial and attractive to employers and employees. Employers can offer such jobs when they need them more economically, as they are usually a more cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time employees. By hiring seasonal workers, employers can determine if these employees will be a good fit for their organization before deciding to hire them full-time.

However, employers should consider many factors before hiring seasonal employees, as these workers may have certain disadvantages.

Because seasonal employment is temporary, these workers may be less dedicated, loyal, and committed to their employer, which could reduce productivity and negatively impact your company’s job performance.

When deciding whether to hire seasonal employees, employers should consider the various federal, state and local employment laws and regulations that may apply. Even if an employee is temporary or only employed for a short time, most federal employment laws still apply to employment relationships.

For example, covered employers must comply with federal anti-discrimination and wage and hour laws – including minimum wage, overtime, record keeping, and youth wage program requirements – to their seasonal workers. Additionally, employers may need to review state laws or local requirements that apply to seasonal employees, such as unemployment insurance, severance pay, sick leave or other records. personnel, mandatory training and predictive planning.

Seasonal employees can have high recruiting costs since employers must recruit them every year, and many seasonal employees do not return once their employment ends. Organizations also typically have less time to conduct background checks, check references, or properly train seasonal workers due to their relatively short employment period.

Lack of training could negatively impact productivity and lead to unwanted injuries and claims, which in turn negate the economic benefits of hiring seasonal workers. Seasonal workers are more likely to be injured because they are unaccustomed to the physical demands of the job. Also, a seasonal worker, for example, who is used to working at a desk all day might not be used to the physical demands of lifting heavy boxes. This can lead to sprains and other injuries.

Most seasonal employees will hire with good intentions, either to supplement their income, generate a little extra income for Christmas or future holidays, or perhaps even to eventually get hired full-time with a potential employer. However, some bad actors will hire with more devious intentions which could include theft, skimming credit card information, fraudulently filing workers’ compensation, hacking into their employer’s computer system, stealing trade secrets or gaining a competitive advantage.

In a corporate world now dominated by mobile devices and real-time data, stealing money from the till is no longer the biggest risk: deletion of credit card information or usernames. username and passwords can prove to be a lucrative business model for seasonal workers looking to make a living from the dark web.

As CPA Practice Advisor noted, companies are seeing a 20% increase in fraud over the holiday season, partly due to existing employees taking the opportunity and partly due to the influx of workers. seasonal.

While many companies have formal hiring procedures, the pressure to stay full over the holidays, especially in retail, often causes companies to cut the process short. The first step to mitigating potential employee risk is to implement a robust onboarding process. It is important to maintain consistent hiring practices. Do not change interview, screening, or background check requirements for seasonal workers just because they are not full-time employees (FTEs).

By staying consistent, this greatly reduces the risk of hiring a potential threat and comes with an added efficiency bonus if companies decide to keep their employees full-time past the end of the seasonal period. By skipping these checks, an employer increases their risk — and may even unsuspectingly add a serial fraudster to their ranks for the holidays.

Finally, the first step in defending against data-driven seasonal employee security risks is to instruct your IT department to limit access to your seasonal employees. Your IT department should ensure that each employee only has access to data essential to their current role and responsibility.

Some seasonal employees will still need access to company network portals, which contain consumers’ names, addresses and even credit card information if returns or refunds are needed. Then, when seasonal employees leave the company or at the end of the seasonal season, your IT department must be prepared for the mass revocation of permissions, disabling their access to prevent them from logging back in with malicious intent and compromising the company data.

Many businesses rely on seasonal workers each year to supplement their regular workforce during peak periods. This is a necessary process that many employers must rely on and has many benefits, but employers must recognize the real threat that seasonal employees pose to your business and never let their guard down or break the standards. hiring.

Be safe my friends!

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