Tips on summer hiring

Posted 5/12/14

Millions of small businesses in the U.S. hire seasonal, summer, holiday or other part-time and temporary help. But finding such workers – especially good ones – isn’t easy and comes with a unique set of requirements compared to full-time employees.

For example, you’ll need to decide what kind of workers you want (student interns; adult temps, etc.), where to find them and – if necessary – how to train them quickly and cost-effectively. You also need to know the regulations involving such workers, including the latest rules on child labor, workers’ comp., minimum wage, tax withholding, overtime pay, and temporary visas for foreign workers, among other things.

Here are tips and tactics for a small business seeking to hire seasonal or other temporary help:

Hire teens … but know the rules. Teenagers out of school for the summer have always been a source of seasonal help for small businesses. Those 18 or older can work any job at any hours. Workers who are 16 or 17 can’t be employed in what the government considers “hazardous” positions, which usually include operating power equipment of certain kinds. Driving on the job is also forbidden for this age group, except for moving vehicles around on the business premises (no passengers).

Create an internship program. College student interns and recent grads are another option. Student interns are capable, motivated and – if well-managed – highly valuable to your business. The trick is the “well-managed” part. You need a plan for making their presence truly productive, and you should recruit, train and manage interns just as you would full-timers. The website offers helpful tips about how to set up an intern program at your business.

Write it out. Treat temp, part-time and seasonal positions like you would any other and make it clear what the job entails. Write out detailed job descriptions so expectations are clear to both you and anyone you hire.

Hire your kids. The good news about hiring your own kids is that children of any age are generally allowed to work in a business owned 100 percent by their parents – hazardous jobs excluded. But the rules are tricky. If parents are full owners, they need not pay immediate family members the minimum wage. But if they regularly hire nonfamily members, they must pay their kids the minimum wage. “If you hire your children and own 100 percent of your sole proprietorship or partnership, you don’t have to withhold Social Security taxes from the kids, but you do have to withhold federal income tax and give your kids a W-2.” •

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