Many industries are in great trade during some seasons compared to rest of the year. For instance, catering and tourism industry need to hire seasonal employees to complete their work during the peak times. For the most part, Employment Standard Act does not distinguish between permanent and seasonal employment rights, but there are some exceptions. Employers should go through the employment rights for a seasonal employee before hiring them. Here are some points to keep in mind regarding seasonal employment rights.
Employee or worker
First, decide if you want to hire an employee or a worker. In a legal sense, employees have much more legal rights than workers. Workers may be hired through staffing agencies. Let’s discuss the difference between the two.
Employees are entitled in the following, whereas workers are not:
- Terms and conditions of their employment are in written statement
- In case of transfer of business, employment protection is provided
- Family rights (paternity, maternity or adoption leave)
- Legal notice period before termination of employment
- After one year’s service, protection against unfair dismissal
- Statutory unemployment pay (after two years of service)
However, following rights are same for employees as well as workers:
- Earning the national minimum wage
- Paid annual leave and rest breaks as a part of working time requirements
- Rights against unlawful discrimination such as sex, age, race or disability.
As mentioned in Section 63 of the Act, employers are not required to provide termination to a seasonal employee if:
- He is employed for a definite term and there is a specific date of termination mentioned at the time of employment commencement.
- He is hired to accomplish a specific project and is aware that his employment will discontinue after completion of the project.
- He is covered by a collective agreement that particularly provides employment terms for seasonal employees.
And, regarding the overtime pay, according to seasonal employment rights, seasonal employees are also entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate after eight hours worked. And double the rate after 12 hours worked in a day. This is important to note because when seasonal employees are hired, during peak times, working hours are usually longer than normal. And also note that some group of seasonal employees may be subject to different rules for overtime requirements, minimum wages and hours of work as mentioned in Employment Standard Regulation.
Finally, employers should know that the Human Rights Code and Workers’ Compensation Act apply to seasonal employees and there is no special exemption for them. There may be no general obligation on rehiring seasonal employees, but if there is evidence about a decision to not rehire a seasonal employee on the basis of any kind of discrimination, employers may be subject to compliant under the Human Rights Code.