The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has a reminder for employers this holiday season regarding safety and pay.  Firstly, as enforced by the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers must keep employees safe in the workplace. Secondly, under laws enforced by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), employers must also protect worker pay by following proper wage & hour practices.

Overview of Employer Responsibilities

As we enter a unique holiday shopping season, employers must train all workers to recognize and prevent job hazards. Safe work practices must also incorporate ways to prevent exposure to the coronavirus. At the same time, employers must comply with federal rules governing the payment of wages for temporary or seasonal workers.

Workplace Safety Under OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces for employees. This includes temporary or seasonal employees who are only hired for a set period of time. OSHA offers resources on holiday workplace safety for warehousing, delivery, and retail workers. Guidance is also available for protecting workers from exposure to the coronavirus in:

OSHA has also recently released updated guidance on cloth face coverings and their use in public settings.

Additional information is available on workers’ rights, the protection of temporary and seasonal workers, and safety for young workers.

Complying with Wage Requirements

Just as temporary and seasonal employees need a safe workplace to work in, they also need to receive proper pay. With added seasonal hiring, employers may not be fully aware of the rules that regulate such work.

The WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The WHD has listed common holiday season labor violations that employers should try to avoid. These include:

  • failing to pay salespeople and cashiers for time spent prepping or closing out a register;
  • requiring stock room and warehouse personnel to work through breaks without compensation; and
  • not providing overtime pay to employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek.

To help protect worker safety and their pay during this holiday season, employers can learn more by viewing the WHD’s guide for Seasonal Employment.