Hiring seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush

Woman on the phone at her desk.

The crush of the holiday rush is soon upon us! Are you hiring seasonal employees to handle the shopping crowds and cover extended holiday hours? Here are several considerations to ensure smooth management of these new employment situations:

  1. Don’t forget to calculate general holiday pay for these casual employees. Employees who work on a statutory holiday must be paid general holiday pay at a rate of 1.5 for all hours worked on the stat holiday or be paid regular wages for hours worked on the stat holiday and receive a substitute day off for which they are paid their average daily wage.
  2. Just because these employees are not with your company for very long does not mean that you can skip the safety or other training! Employers must provide all the training that is statutorily required, including, for example, those requirements set out under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Employees are entitled to be paid for the time they spend in training and in meetings directly related to the workplace. You will also want to ensure that these employees review, understand and sign your Drug and Alcohol Policy and your Code of Conduct. Make sure all expectations for employees' conduct are clear and consistently enforced.
  3. Seasonal employees are entitled to the accrual of vacation entitlements under the Employment Standards legislation, even if they will not have an opportunity to take vacation before their employment ends. If the employees do not receive their vacation pay on each pay cheque, accrued and unpaid vacation pay must be paid when they take vacation or following their termination from employment
  4. Holiday hours can be irregular. In general, the maximum hours of work permitted under Alberta Employment Standards legislation is 8 hours a day (more if the regular work day is longer than 8 hours) and 44 hours per week. There are also minimum requirements for rest and eating periods: the employee must be provided with at least 30 minutes of rest for every 5 hours of work, unless there are other unforeseeable circumstances.
  5. When hiring, prepare employment contracts so there is no uncertainty as to the parameters of employment and termination. If you need to terminate your seasonal employee, be sure to follow all obligations regarding termination set out in the employment contract. Ensure that employees are given notice of termination in writing. 

So, put up the decorations, hire your extra staff and enjoy all of the customers coming your way this holiday season!


DECEMBER 14, 2018