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The Restaurateur Insights

Seasonal Employees and Interns - Important Hiring Information

May 13, 2016

Looking to fill some gaps in your staff this summer? Hiring seasonal employees and interns brings some unique challenges.

Is your business looking to hire summer help in the coming months? If so, you are looking at some unique considerations and legal requirements. As our past blog points out, hiring seasonal employees during customer volume increases is not as easy as it might sound. Since restaurants prepare for crowds in the summer months, especially in RI and MA, ensuring that you have the best and brightest staff is essential, but something that takes time and careful consideration, too.

Tips for seasonal hiring

Not sure where to start with the hiring process? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Hire the right positions- Assess where you need the help—Do you need servers and cooks? Hostesses, too? Though this might seem like a no-brainer, you want to be sure you can account for vacations taken by your permanent employees and for any gaps you foresee in the near future.
  • Contact applicants quickly- Summer jobs are highly sought after among high school and college students so applicants are likely sending their applications out to many establishments. Make sure you snag enough help before your competitors do.
  • Demand experience- Since training time is limited in the summer months, make sure that the new hire has enough restaurant experience to be able to catch on quickly to the fast-paced environment
  • Contact past employees- Try reaching out to past summer employees—the less time you’ll need to spend training people, the better (especially considering young people and college age students are still in school currently).
  • Require an open schedule- Make sure the potential hire has a relatively free schedule for the summer. You don’t want to spend your time training someone who will constantly be requesting time off or has only weekday availability.

Besides these things, it also helps if the potential hire has a motivated and friendly attitude. You know there will be an increased number of people visiting your restaurant, you want to ensure that your business is not simply fully staffed, but well-staffed as well.

Restaurant and hotel management internships

If you are looking to hire young people interested in furthering their careers in the hospitality industry, there are a few things you should make note of:

Under federal labor laws employers must pay interns at least minimum wage unless:

  • Both you (employer) and intern understand that the internship is unpaid;
  • The internship is an extension of the student’s studies;
  • The work is solely for the benefit of the intern;
  • The student’s work is closely observed by other employees and does not replace anyone’s function. The intern’s work should be an educational experience above all else;
  • There is no promise for a job after the internship’s conclusion.

Do temporary employees and interns get benefits?

Historically, seasonal employees and interns do not qualify for healthcare coverage, though this may change for 2016. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that companies offer affordable medical benefits to 95% of its full-time employees, if you are considered an applicable large employer (more than 50 full-time equivalents). If you hire a significant number of temporary employees and interns, you might need to modify your practices to comply with the ACA. Seasonal employees can be excluded from ACA requirements, provided they work less than 120 days during the year. Tracking their hours is crucial to avoid having them exceed the 120-day threshold.

In terms of other benefits, employers must pay the employer match for social security and medicare taxes as well as provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to all seasonal employees and interns.

Start hiring now!

It is best to start hiring and training now for the summer months if possible. Getting a head start will ensure that you have the best and brightest workers for the surge of tourists in the coming months.
Questions? Contact any member of our Hospitality Services Group.

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