In this Edition... Briefcases and Broomsticks
It’s that time of year again – the leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping and before you know it, the trick-or-treaters will be out and about! Fall has arrived, kicking off the holiday season with Halloween on October 31st. It may seem early, but this issue of Labor Link reminds job-seekers that now is the time employers are hiring holiday help. Additionally, we touch on how child labor laws come into play with seasonal jobs for youth, as well as filling you in on some unconventional paycheck options.
Holiday Hiring Season Begins Now!
Looking for part-time, seasonal work? With the upcoming holiday season just around the corner, now is the time to start applying. A variety of businesses will be looking to hire some additional employers to help with busy holiday seasons. Large retailers like Toys ‘R’ Us plan to double their staff for the holiday season, and Target is looking to fill 74,000 positions. Big businesses are not the only ones who will be hiring. In your job search, don’t neglect small businesses such as party favor/costume stores or even a Christmas tree lot, as well as manufacturing, shipping, and delivery companies. Many grocery stores and department stores also increase their staff to handle holiday crowds.
According to SnagaJob.com, 33 percent of employers hire their seasonal associates during the month of October. Additionally, seasonal hiring is expected to be close to last year’s numbers when retailers hired approximately 600,000 people. There is tremendous opportunity during this time of year to obtain work!
Even though many of these positions are deemed temporary, it is possible for part-timers to be offered permanent employment. A part-time job is an opportunity for workers to impress management and compete with others for those full-time positions.
There is one common misconception associated with part-time work and unemployment that needs to be put to rest. One can still receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working part-time—it all depends on how much that person earns a week. Unemployed claimants should also be aware that if offered employment, whether it is full-time or part-time, they must take it to remain eligible for benefits, unless the job is deemed unsuitable. Check out the partial benefits calculator on the Department’s website to see how your benefits might be affected. Don’t miss the boat; start applying for these jobs now!
BEWARE: A Haunted Halloween
With Halloween on the horizon, trick-or-treaters may not be the only young people spotted in costumes, but also those who choose to work at haunted houses, costume shops, etc. Even though dressing up as goblins and ghosts is all in good fun, it is important for employers, youth employees, and their parents to remain conscious of child labor laws.
For instance, haunted houses may seem like a fun place to work for young tricksters, but both children and parents should understand the hazards associated with them. Running around during the late hours of the night (a time when most haunted houses are open for business) with a bladeless chainsaw is probably not going to pass a child labor inspection. That’s because there are strict laws surrounding youth employment that prohibit youth under the age of 16 to work after 7 p.m. during the school year and they cannot operate power driven machinery or other dangerous equipment, work from ladders or scaffolding, or engage in any other activity that is hazardous to their health and safety.
Regardless of where the little ghouls decide to pick up a few hours of work, they need to know they are subject to other time and hours restrictions AND must be paid at least the minimum wage. A work permit or certificate is also required, which must be authorized by the Missouri Director of the Division of Labor Standards. To see a complete list, visit the Acceptable Work page on the Department’s website. Children under the age of 14 are not generally permitted to be employed at all unless working in the entertainment industry (additional restrictions apply).
In order to protect youth employees from dangerous and scary environments, the Division of Labor Standards investigates all complaints regarding potential violations of Missouri child labor laws, which may be referred for prosecution. More information can be found on the Department’s Youth Employment page, and complaints of suspected child labor violations may be filed anonymously online. Further questions can be directed to the Wage and Hour division at 573-751-3403.
Presents for your Presence at Work
Can you imagine your paycheck consisting of chocolate bars or a new outfit instead of paycheck? Believe it or not, money is not the only legal form of payment in the state of Missouri. Employers may also pay you in goods or services, as long as the value is equal to the wages you are owed. For instance, someone working a part-time job at a Christmas tree lot might accept a tree in lieu of wages for a day. An unconventional way for fashionistas to expand their wardrobe is to work at a boutique and accept clothing and accessories instead of a paycheck.
While getting paid in clothes or candy might sound like a good solution for both employer and employee, the reality is that it might be more trouble than its worth.
A regulation of the Department of Labor applies when workers are paid in goods or services instead of, or in addition to, cash wages. Read about the Missouri Secretary of State: Code of State Regulations 8 CSR 30-4.050. Employers that pay their employees in goods or services must comply with this regulation, which includes a requirement that the fair market value of those goods or services be determined on a weekly basis with the Division of Labor Standards. Also, employers and employees should note that income tax would still be owed based on the value of the product provided in lieu of cash for the work done. And if you are a part-time worker receiving unemployment benefits, the value of the products you receive must still be reported as wages and can affect your weekly benefit amount.
Overall, before paying workers in products or receiving them from your boss instead of cash wages, it is best to talk about it first and come to an agreement. More information on wage rights can be found on the Division of Labor Standards’ Wage and Hour page.