Hiring summer help

Hiring seasonal employees can be a tricky venture for business owners who don’t know the rules. When you consider summer-only workers, toss what you know for the rest of your work force out the window.

Here are five tips from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers designed to save your company time, money, and possible grief from the IRS or Department of Labor:

1. High school students and college students are not exempt from withholding taxes. Require a W-4 from all seasonal employees — even students working part-time during the summer — and withhold federal income tax unless the person claims exempt or has more than 10 exemptions.

2. Federal law does not require employers to provide a lunch period. However, some state laws do make that provision. Also, look at your company’s union contracts to see if they contain clauses concerning seasonal workers. If your company does have to set aside time for lunch periods, they do not have to be paid time if the employees are not working.

3. Paying part-timers for holidays is strictly optional any time of year.
4. Including temporary and part-time employees in health, pension and other benefits is optional. But, the AIPB warns, if your company does exclude them, have a written document clearly stating that these benefits are not available.

5. Before hiring children under age 18 who are not related to the company owners, obtain an age certificate. The Department of Labor has strict guidelines concerning minors and the number of hours they can work each day and each week, depending on the time of year.

How to reach: AIPB at (800) 622-0121.