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‘Tis the Season: Employer FAQs on Hiring Seasonal Workers

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Many businesses begin hiring seasonal employees this time of the year in preparation for the busy holiday season.

While in spring, seasonal workers are typically hired by landscaping businesses, golf clubs and summer camps. Although many businesses hire workers on a seasonal basis (typically for six months or less), this type of employment comes with many questions.

Common ones include: What rights do seasonal employees have? Should they have employment contracts?

This blog answers such questions and offers more information on seasonal employment relationships.

What rights do seasonal employees have?

Seasonal employees are protected under employment standards legislation. They have many of the same rights as full-time workers.

These include rights to minimum wage, overtime, vacation pay, and hours of work. Additionally, seasonal staff are generally entitled to notice of termination depending on the type of contract they’ve signed.

They are also covered under health and safety, human rights, and workers’ compensation legislation.

Are there different types of seasonal employees?

There are two main types of seasonal employees:

  • Those hired to work only for one season, and they don’t return
  • Those who return to their seasonal position every year
Should seasonal employees have employment contracts?

Since seasonal employees are only employed for a relatively short time every year, employers often overlook the fact that employment contracts should still be provided.

Implementing employment contracts into seasonal work relationships can be beneficial for both the employee and the employer.

For the employee, employment agreements can be useful for stating compensation, hours of work, and providing a set end date so there is no confusion surrounding the length of the seasonal employment.

Additionally, employment contracts containing a valid termination clause can be useful for employers in limiting the employees’ entitlements upon termination.

It is also worth noting that employers have no obligation to renew an employment contract with a fixed end date and rehire the same seasonal employees the following year.

Despite this, employers often choose to rehire seasonal employees year after year as the employees will likely have already been trained, know the expectations of the job, and are familiar with the work itself.

Do you need help drafting job contracts for seasonal workers?

Our experts can help you develop employment contracts, company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.