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Hiring Seasonal Workers: Here’s What Employers Should Know


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

Temporary workers are usually hired by landscaping businesses, golf clubs and summer camps. Although such employees are hired typically for six months or less, this type of employment comes with many questions. Common ones include: What rights do seasonal employees have? Should employers provide them with 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.

What are some things to keep in mind when recruiting seasonal staff?

Businesses should start hiring employees for their peak business season in advance. Job descriptions should detail the requirements of the job and the work schedule. Being upfront about physical requirements, such as heavy lifting, and schedule requirements, such as working late or working weekends, will help narrow down applicants. If you are tight on time, recruitment events and group interviews can make the hiring process more efficient.

What are some good practices to retain seasonal employees?

Having an employee quit at the busiest time of the year can be stressful and hindering to business operations. There are several means by which you can retain your temporary employees throughout the season:

  • Offering an end of season bonus, for example, can be an incentive for employees to stay.
  • Offering loyalty bonuses can also encourage seasonal staff to return year after year, saving you time and resources on training new recruits.
  • Providing creative benefits and perks for your employees will also make your business more competitive and attractive to temporary workers.
  • Busy times of year can be overwhelming and fast paced for many businesses. To avoid losing employees who quit due to stress or feeling overworked, clearly explain your expectations for the position during the hiring process so they know what they are signing up for. Employees who are prepared for the challenges of seasonal work are less likely to quit mid-way.
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. To learn more about how our services can benefit your business, call us today at 1 (833) 247-3652.