Many businesses require additional workers during the busiest times of the year. For large retailers, this means the holiday season, which runs from October to January every year. For smaller businesses in New Jersey geared toward tourism, it is summer that can make or break their bottom line. Their demand is greatest from May to September. No matter what time of year, these extra workers are happy to have a chance to earn some spending money. However, seasonal workers should be aware that they do not always have the same rights as regular employees.
State and Federal Laws
In New Jersey, seasonal work is any work that is done only at a certain time of year based on need or local circumstances, for 36 weeks or less in a calendar year. Whether or not a regular job is termed part-time or full time is up to employers, but generally jobs that require 40 hours a week or more are deemed full time. Part-time jobs encompass those worked for 35 hours a week or less.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that requires employers to pay all non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage per hour worked, and overtime wages for every hour more than a 40-hour workweek. Overtime pay is time and a half. Whether a worker is part-time or full-time does not change how the FLSA is applied.
Seasonal workers should carefully read any contracts they sign to see if they are agreeing to additional hours without additional pay. If so, the FLSA stipulation for overtime will not apply. However, equal opportunity laws both at the State and Federal level apply to the hiring process which must be free of bias. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) covers hiring discrimination based on among other things, race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, and gender identity or expression. Employers with 15 employees or more must comply with the NJLAD.
Some employers also turn to teenagers for seasonal work. Young workers can benefit, learn, and develop from employment experiences if they are safe and positive ones. The Department of Labor says that children 14 and 15 years of age may work for limited periods of time in specific conditions, but only outside of school hours. Some jobs that 14 and 15 year-olds are not permitted to do include operating cardboard compactors, meat slicers, and dough mixers. Those who are 16 and 17 years of age may work unlimited hours if the work falls outside the Secretary of Labor’s list of hazardous occupations. Once a person turns 18, Federal rules for youth employment no longer apply.
Marlton Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Provide Experienced Legal Counsel to Seasonal Employees
Seasonal employees and employers alike need to be aware of the intricacies of federal and state employment laws. If you have any questions about an employment contract or your rights, consult with an experienced Marlton employment lawyer from McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. by calling our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or by contacting us at 888-396-0736 or online.