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Blog  »  Decemeber 2013  »  Seasonal Workers: what you need to know - Blog
Dec 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Seasonal Workers: what you need to know

Christmas is nearly here! For many companies that means a spike in trade. To cover this period many employers take on additional temporary staff. However, employers need to be mindful that even if an individual is only employed for a few weeks employment legislation will apply.

The below tips will help you through:

  • Contracts of Employment: all seasonal workers must be provided with a contract of employment. The contract should clearly state that it is for a specific purpose or specific period and that once completed the contract will end. The contract should state that the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 will not apply where the reason for terminating the contract is the expiry of the specified purpose/period.
  • Less Favourable Treatment: under the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work Act) 2003, seasonal workers cannot be treated less favourably than their permanent counterparts. For example, their annual leave entitlement, eligibility to sick pay or additional benefits such as health insurance should be the same as fulltime counterparts. (There are some exceptions around pensions).
  • Continuity of Employment: if you recall the same temporary employees over a number of successive seasons, they may be able to claim continuous employment under an implied contract where the employee has an expectation of further work.

The key to hiring seasonal workers is to have a written contract of employment in place clearly defining the terms and conditions. If there is no contract in place their status may be unclear which can lead to disputes. Having contracts in place will reduce the risk of disputes arising and allow employers to focus on having a productive holiday season.

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