Part-time and temporary employees play a crucial role in the economy today. They can be a key asset when your company needs to staff for an abnormally demanding project or busy season. At times, managing part-time and temporary employees properly can be challenging. Here are some strategies to help you get the most out of your employees while staying in compliance with applicable regulations.

Research Compliance Issues Thoroughly

According to the IRS, an individual is a variable hour employee if, on his or her start date, it cannot be determined that the employee is reasonably expected to work at least 30 hours per week on average during a certain time period. In other words, if there's no way to predict an employee's hours, he or she is considered part of the variable hour workforce.

Certain federal, state and local regulations apply to employees with unpredictable hours. For example, in Massachusetts employees classified as temporary workers have a right to know, among other things, their starting time, anticipated ending time and (if known) the expected duration of the assignment.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the federal government's health and safety agency, requires that temporary workers receive the same safety trainings as full-time employees, so be sure to administer all necessary training for workplace safety — do not give them a condensed version.

Understand relevant FLSA and applicable state rules regarding worker classifications. Employers who fail to properly classify workers may be subject to fines and penalties.

Create a Work Contract

When you bring on a part-time or temporary employee, you should both sign a temporary work contract that clearly defines all roles and responsibilities. If you wish to include a reference to the expected duration of the job, be sure to include language making it clear that the employer is free to termination the relationship at any time, for any lawful reason.

Track Time Carefully

It's important to track the hours worked by your part-time and temporary workers closely. Keep a record for payroll to help avoid issues from a worker accidentally putting in too many hours. There are cloud-based time-tracking programs where employees can submit their time sheets and the program will keep track for you.

Consider a Staffing Agency

You can use a staffing agency to help guide you through the process. Agencies can hire part-time and temporary employees on your behalf so there is no extra work for your HR department.

Part-time and temporary hour employees are expected to grow in importance over the next few years. By considering these guidelines, and consulting with experienced HR or legal professionals on compliance requirements, your company can benefit from this valuable labor pool.

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