Seasonal employees are common around the holidays and summer months when companies need extra help to mitigate a bigger workload. Seasonal employees usually only stay on for a short period of time, short enough that employers are generally not legally obligated to provide benefits like health care.
While you may not be required to provide seasonal employee benefits, you should at least consider it if it’s reasonably within your budget. Providing benefits for seasonal employees reflects well on your company in the public eye. Oftentimes, seasonal workers prove to be exceptionally talented. If you ever want to make a full-time offer, an employee is more likely to say yes if they were treated well previously.
Below, we will make the case for offering seasonal employee benefits.
Are You Legally Required To Offer Seasonal Employees Benefits?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has certain requirements you should pay close attention to when making decisions about employee benefits. Unless you are a small business with under 50 employees, you are required to provide full-time employees (i.e., those who work 30+ hours per week) health insurance after four months.
Does this apply to seasonal employees? In the vast majority of cases, it does not – even if they work full-time for four months.
The ACA considers workers seasonal if the expected duration of their employment is six months or fewer. If an employee is expected to work for your company for six months or less, you are under no legal obligation to provide them with health insurance after the four month mark.
Many employers hire the same people each year for seasonal work, and wonder whether there are different rules in this case. Under most circumstances, you do not need to provide health benefits even when hiring the same employees. As long as there is a gap of at least 13 weeks between the dates employees worked for you, you can start a new measurement period. Therefore, these employees would be subject to the same laws and regulations regarding healthcare coverage as any other seasonal employee.
It is a good idea to consult a professional when hiring seasonal employees. A mistake can cost you a lot in penalty fees and fines.
Why Offer Seasonal Employees Benefits?
While benefits such as healthcare are not legally required, they may be a good idea. It’s a gesture of goodwill to provide benefits even on a short term basis, one that could reflect well on your company in the public eye.
Temporary Workers Can Become Permanent Employees
Benefits make a big difference when employees are deciding whether to accept a job offer. According to a survey by Willis Tower Watson, 78% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a job because of a good benefits package. If your company frequently ends up bringing seasonal employees on full-time, offering them benefits can provide extra incentive for them to accept full time offers.
You want seasonal employees to have a good experience with your company. Providing benefits – even for a few short months – will make them feel valued and respected.
Seasonal Jobs Are Sometimes Risky
Seasonal jobs can often come with undue risk of injury or illness. Lifeguards are often seasonal, as are jobs at winter attractions like ski resorts. Even retail jobs – due to the ongoing pandemic – now come with significantly heightened risk. Offering healthcare to seasonal employees is a gesture of good will.
Health benefits will not only leave employees working risky jobs with a good outlook of your company. In light of recent events, the public at large will look favorably on companies who protect essential or high-risk workers. This is good for your company’s overall reputation.
If you are hiring seasonal employees for risky work, review Hazard Pay requirements in your area. Depending on regulations, you may be legally required to offer hazard pay for certain jobs.
Not All Benefits Are Expensive
Healthcare costs can add up fast, but that is not the only benefit you can provide seasonal employees. There are other benefits you can offer to keep seasonal employees happy without overspending.
Less expensive benefits can include employee discounts, paid time off, performance incentives, and free meals, beverages, and snacks. If offering benefits such as healthcare is not within your budget, there are still ways to make seasonal employees feel valued. You always want employees to leave with a positive impression of your business.
The Bottom Line: Seasonal Employees Benefits
Under most circumstances, you are not obligated to provide major benefits like health care to seasonal employees. There is a case to be made that you should do so anyway as it will bolster your reputation overall and help your business attract top talent. Happy employees are also more productive. Offering benefits for everyone on staff – even temporary workers – can create a positive office culture.
Need some help? At UBC Insurance Solutions, we worked for you – not insurance companies. We work one-on-one with every one of our clients to develop a cost-efficient benefits package to meet their unique needs. If you’re looking for ways to save, reach out here and someone will be in touch shortly.