“Hiring Temporary Employees This Holiday? Insight into Managing Unemployment Claims for Holiday Seasonal Workers”

The holiday season is almost here: Retailers and other industries will be ramping up and adding holiday seasonal workers to supplement the extra workload.

The term ‘holiday seasonal worker’ can be interchanged with ‘temporary worker,’ which of course refers to employees with a short, but defined period of employment. After the work period is done, have you considered the fact that any holiday seasonal worker who has earned the minimum level of compensation during the base period is eligible to file an unemployment claim?

Business owners and human resource practitioners may need to spend some extra time planning to ensure their companies are prepared for holiday seasonal workers, not just during their period of employment, but for what happens after the workers’ employment has ended.

Here are a few core aspects of you need to consider for seasonal employees hired for the holidays:

Base Periods – In most states this will mean a one-year period; the earliest four of the last five complete quarters of the calendar year. This means that the most recent quarter of employment is not included; however, some states do have an alternative base period, which does allow the employee’s most recent earnings to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Minimum Qualification Requirements – These are the requirements that must be met in order for the employee to receive benefits. An example of this is the minimum level of compensation during the base period. States define this minimum earning requirement differently, but common ways include a flat dollar amount, the highest wages made during the quarter, or a multiple of the weekly benefit amount.

Disqualifications – The burden of proof is on the party that initiated the end of the work relationship. Claimants must prove a good cause connected with quitting if they are the one who left the position. If the claimant was fired or laid off, the responsibility lies with the employer to prove that it was a result of misconduct that related to the claimant’s work.

Here are some examples of disqualifications for holiday seasonal workers:
• Willingly quit for personal reasons
• Fired for misconduct or wrongdoing related to their work
• Refused work without having good reason or cause
• Receipt of wages in lieu of notice, (i.e. no obligation payment plus no advance termination notice)

Here’s a helpful tip: Be very open and honest with holiday seasonal employees about the timeframe of their employment period. Not only could this communication prevent misunderstandings, but also enables them to financially plan for the future after their seasonal source of income ends.

Please keep in mind that unemployment management differs from state-to-state. Each state has its own set of regulations and guidelines. Here is a contact list for labor departments – a great resource for checking states’ restrictions on seasonal unemployment eligibility.

Have questions about all of this? Let us help you make sense of it. I would be happy to discuss with you. Contact us today.