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Hiring seasonal workers give businesses the benefits of more flexibility, lower hiring costs, paying for output only and reducing demand during busy periods. Industries needing seasonal employees include but is not limited to retail, delivery, taxation, hospitality and farming.

The festive period is a time when retailers are looking to hire seasonal employees to alleviate the demand during this time.  While there are great benefits to hiring seasonal employees, retailers need to consider the important aspects of the laws that impact hiring seasonal employees governed by the BCEA, LRA and EEA.


Three important considerations when hiring for the festive season.

  1. The “Casual Worker” myth.

Employees working less than 24 hours a month are excluded from the core BCEA protections, however, laws regarding the employment of children and forced labour are enforceable. Just because you refer to seasonal employees as casual staff doesn’t mean they are not protected.


  1. Child labour.

Businesses often resort to employing children during the festive period.  Children under the age of 15 years may not be employed. Children over the age of 15 may be employed for work that is not “inappropriate for his/her age; that place at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health, or spiritual, moral or social development” as per BCEA 1997. The minimum age for hazardous work is 18, prohibited work includes many industries. Relative to retailers, prohibited work environments include working in confined spaces, lifting heavy weights and working in cold, hot and noisy conditions. Check that your stores aren’t in contravention of these conditions.

A child worker’s conditions may not:

  • exceed 8 hours a day
  • exceed 40 hours a week if not enrolled in school or during school leave
  • exceed 20 hours a week if enrolled in school
  • be between the hours 6pm and 6am

Check the legal requirements when considering hiring children.


  1. The Controversial Overtime.

Short-staffed, unexpected incidents or high foot traffic in-store will create the need for employees to work overtime. Knowing their rights will help businesses from contravening laws and assist managers when planning work schedules.

Be sure to include an agreement to work overtime when required in your contract. Employees in general are entitled to an overtime rate of 1.5 times the normal wage rate however, leave can be given in lieu of paying overtime.

Conditions where employees can legally refuse to work:

  • Over 45 hours per week
  • Overtime hours of more than 10 hours per week
  • Over 12 hours in a day

Incorporating these conditions in your contracts will allow your business to plan appropriately and avoid unforeseen disputes.

Being open and stating the relevant conditions above will keep your seasonal employee informed and avoid your business from contravening the LRA, BCEA and EEA.

Considering hiring seasonal workers? Read our blog on Strategies for Recruiting Seasonal Employees.


Disclaimer: The material above is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on information contained in this article.