WASHINGTON – With the National Retail Federation expecting retailers to hire more than 500,000 seasonal workers and employers hopeful for a busy holiday season, the U.S. Department of Labor reminds them not to overlook their worker’s rights to a safe and healthy workplace and to be paid all of their legally earned wages. With many businesses open for in-person shopping in 2021, employers must also take steps to control and prevent coronavirus spread.
The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges employers to ensure it properly trains all workers – especially new and seasonal workers – to recognize and prevent workplace hazards. OSHA offers resources on holiday workplace safety for warehousing, delivery and retail workers. Guidance is also available for protecting retail workers, including those in high customer-volume environments, stockrooms and loading docks, and package delivery from coronavirus exposure.
“The holiday season is typically a very busy time for businesses, and just as consumer demands increase, so must an employer’s awareness of keeping their employees safe,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Safety and Health Doug Parker. “All workers – from those starting their first job to those making some extra money as a seasonal worker to those year-round employees – are entitled to a workplace free from hazards and to be trained in a language they understand to recognize and prevent hazards.”
The department also encourages employers, especially those unfamiliar with seasonal and part-time hiring, to familiarize themselves with federal wage rules to make sure they pay temporary and seasonal workers all of the wages they earned, and as the law requires. The Wage and Hour Division finds failing to pay salespeople and cashiers for time spent prepping or closing out registers, requiring stock room and warehouse personnel to work through breaks without pay, and not paying workers overtime pay when required are among the most common violations cited in holiday employment investigations.
“This holiday season, and all year round, workers deserve dignity and respect from their employers,” said Acting Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. “Employers should ensure their payroll practices comply with all minimum wage, overtime and child labor requirements so those who depend on their wages to care for themselves and their families are able to benefit from their hard work.”