What does it mean to be a seasonal employee?
Seasonal employees are employees hired into a position for the short term. They are mostly part-time or temporary workers that help out with increased work demands or seasonal work that arise in different industries. Seasonal employees typically work no more than 35 hours in most states and/or less than six months out of the year. Some examples of seasonal employees include lifeguards who work at the beach during the summer, or ski resort hires to work each winter during the ski season.
While most seasonal employees work between 30-35 hours a week, there is no rule on how much or little they can work. If they are truly seasonal and work six months or less during the season, there are no penalties if you do not offer them insurance.
Employers can use the “lookback measurement” method to benefit from seasonal employee rules. Within this approach, employees are classified as seasonal, variable, part-time, or full-time. The employer must be able to prove that their employees are classified per category. Past classifications are used to “bucket” current employees. If there is no method in place for employers to measure and document seasonal employees, employers must offer coverage to avoid penalties from the IRS.