Summer is here and many seasonal businesses makes plans to hire more temporary employees. Here are some areas to look out for when hiring those seasonal workers in order to stay in compliance….

Minimum Wage: We remind you that the federal minimum wage is $7.25.  Many states have their own minimum wage rates that may exceed the fed rate. Remember, employers who do less than $500K in revenue per year and do not engage in any interstate commerce are not subject to the the FLSA.

Teenage Workers: Workers younger than 18 are covered by the FLSA. When school is not in session, 14 to 15 year-olds can work 40 hours a week. Tennessee does have specific regulations regarding child labor that you can access at this link. However, take note that according to the Youth Opportunity Wage, under a provision of the Small Business Protection Act, first-time employees 19 or younger can be paid a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for a 90 day employment period.

Internships:  The Dept of Labor has been cracking down on those companies who hire un-paid summer interns.  An internship should provide training and experience related to a student’s academic course of study and career goals. If this is not the case, then the positions are not considered internships and the employer must pay no less than the minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, you do not have to pay interns who qualify as learners/trainees. The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined six criteria for determining trainee status:

  1. Interns cannot replace regular employees.
  2. Interns are not guaranteed a job with your organization upon completion of the internship.
  3. Both you and the intern are aware that they are not entitled to wages.
  4. Interns must receive training.
  5. Interns must get “hands-on” experience with equipment or processes used in your particular industry.
  6. The skills learned on the job must be considered transferable.
To limit exposure to liability, it is generally a good idea to cover interns under your worker’s compensation policy even when they are unpaid. While interns are not specified in the language of the law, it is strongly recommend that you follow equal opportunity employment laws when recruiting and hiring interns.

Holidays and Vacations: While public sector employees must receive compensation for official holidays like the 4th of July or Labor Day, there are no such requirements for private sector employees.  While employees must be paid for working on a holiday and those hours worked must be accounted for when determining OT, there are no other special stipulations regarding holiday hours worked. Likewise, federal law does not require employers to provide for paid vacations. Employers are encouraged to develop a vacation and holiday pay policy in an Employee Handbook. It is important that all employees be treated consistently according to those policies.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or other payroll and human resource related topics, please use our web site, our on-line resources resources or call us at 423-854-9042