Employing people

6 things to consider when hiring seasonal employees this holiday

With the holidays only a few weeks away, it’s time to hire seasonal workers to cope with increased demand or instances where most of your permanent employees are on leave.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) defines a seasonal worker as “a person who is only employed during a peak period for a specific period”.

It’s not just the tourism and hospitality industries that need seasonal workers, but also engineering, IT, customer service, office support sales, and manufacturing.

Here are some tips when hiring seasonal workers.

Create a seasonal recruitment strategy

December and January are the busiest times of year for seasonal hiring. Most companies begin advertising open positions at least one to three months ahead of time. Seasonal hiring should form part of your annual strategic planning.

This discussion should include your accounting, marketing, legal, payroll, and executive teams so that they can assist in developing a recruitment strategy and determining your hiring needs for each season.

Connect with your local chamber of commerce

Local chambers of commerce can help businesses find qualified seasonal and full-time employees.

Contact your local chamber to see how they can help spread the word about any seasonal openings at your organisation. Inquire if they have an online job board or how you can participate in their next career fair.

You can find a list of business chambers here.

Share your openings online

Social media is influencing how recruiters and HR managers find top talent. Use resources like Facebook Jobs and LinkedIn to find great seasonal talent.

The tax period for seasonal workers begins on the date the employee started working and ends on the date their employment ends. If the season extends to the following tax year, you will need to issue two IRP5/IT3(a) certificates—one for each tax year.

If a casual employee works more than 24 hours a month, they are entitled to similar rights and benefits as permanent employees under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

This means they are entitled to one day’s leave for every 17 days worked, and should be paid the same rate as permanent employees if they work on Sundays or public holidays. They are also entitled to one day of sick leave for every 26 days worked, and have the same notice period for termination of employment as a permanent employee.

They must also be registered for and contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Casual and part-time workers who work fewer than 22 hours per week are typically taxed at a rate of 25% on the first rand they earn. If they earn less than the threshold, they will not be eligible for tax payments.

Consult with your legal and human resources teams to determine whether providing benefits to seasonal employees is necessary.

Host orientations and training workshops

Hosting orientations and trainings for all new hires is an excellent way to motivate seasonal employees and make them feel like they are part of a larger team.

Educate them on the company’s mission, policies, and procedures, introduce them to organisational stakeholders, and encourage them to ask questions.

In addition to orientation, provide ongoing training to all seasonal employees throughout their employment. Training will ensure that they are proficient in all software programs, security and safety measures, and tasks that they will be required to perform during the term of their employment contract.

Supply a contract of employment

Check that the contract is clear, that it serves a specific purpose, and that it will expire once completed. A fixed-term/specified purpose contract confirms a fixed, limited period of employment, with a clear date for when the contract comes to an end.

The key to any type of employment, including seasonal workers, is clearly defining the terms and conditions in a written employment contract.

Remember that if they do not have a contract, their status may be unclear, and in the event of a dispute, the courts will decide whether they are classified as employed or self-employed.

Turn a seasonal hire into a full-time employee

Great recruiters who hire seasonal workers frequently look to build a list of superstar employees who can return season after season.

Returning employees are preferred by most businesses because they require less training in the long run and already love and know your company.

Even if a former seasonal employee is unable to return for the following season, they are usually willing to spread the word about any openings or refer friends or family members who would be a good fit for your company.