Environmental Health and Safety Training
May 17, 2022
Many businesses hire temporary workers over the summer months to meet increased business demands. Ensuring summer employees and their managers receive proper training is essential to creating a good seasonal work experience and keeping an organization compliant with state and federal laws.
According to JobMonkey, 20-25% of companies will hire additional workers for the summer. Making compliance training part of the onboarding process sets expectations for how new hires should behave and interact with others as representatives of your organization. And proactively training managers on the rules of seasonal employment can help prevent errors in pay and benefits, as well as employee misconduct.
Most rules apply to summer employees as non-seasonal staff, including laws governing minimum wage, overtime pay and anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and health and safety regulations. One exception is the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA), where an employee must have worked at least 12 months for the employer to qualify for leave.
Compliance training for all employees and managers should cover these 4 topics:
Code of conduct training ensures that summer employees start their work experience with a clear understanding of a company’s core values, policies and standards for ethical behavior. It’s important to also provide temporary hires with a handbook outlining guidelines and procedures, and pair them with an experienced staff member who they can go to with questions when they encounter workplace challenges or need to report issues.
Organizations must provide seasonal employees with the same discrimination and harassment prevention training as permanent staff to comply with federal, state, city and industry guidelines. This includes training on how to recognize, safely intervene and report incidents of sexual harassment. Managers and supervisors, who play a pivotal role in fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment, should be trained on their responsibilities to respond to incidents of misconduct and prevent retaliation against anyone who reports misconduct.
Providing FLSA training to managers ahead of summer hiring helps to ensure compliance with fair employment practices. This includes properly classifying seasonal employees, accurately identifying workers as non-exempt vs. exempt and paying summer workers at the correct rate. Avoiding common FLSA mistakes can prevent costly penalties for employers.
Training managers on how to recognize and respond to different types of accommodation requests from employees, including seasonal workers, is an important step in reducing the risk of discrimination and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies from the first day of employment and doesn’t require employees to work a minimum number of hours to be covered.
Summer employees may ask for time off, need sick leave or request a change to their work schedule to attend religious services. Managers should understand that state-mandated sick leave applies to seasonal and part-time employees, as well as full-time staff. And providing managers with training on how to accommodate employee requests pertaining to their religion, spirituality and beliefs also helps to keep organizations in compliance with the law and create a more inclusive work environment.
Getting summer hires off on the right foot begins with compliance training during the onboarding process. This is the opportunity to clearly communicate the organization’s policies, procedures and expectations for behavior. And ensuring that managers understand their responsibilities when supervising seasonal employees helps create an employment experience that is fair, inclusive and respectful.