Holiday Work - Know Your Rights

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The familiar signs of December are all around; from the red cups at my favorite coffee shop, to the holiday lights and flags decorating the streets. Generally, the holidays mean parties, family, friends. However, to those who work in retail, the holidays mean extended mall hours, crazed shoppers, over-crowded parking lots, and more time spent fixing shelves and folding clothes.

Given all the extras that come with holidays, retail employees must make sure they are aware of the time they spent working during these coming weeks especially. Federal law mandates that all hours worked over 40 per work-week must be compensated at no less than time and one-half the employee’s regular rate for all non-exempt employees. All those late nights spent recovering the store likely counts towards your weekly hours. Also, if your supervisor asks you to cover or pick up another shift, just make sure that your pay stub reflects all that time. I have seen instances where Employee A covers a shift for Employee B, but Employee A does not get paid because the schedule sheet showed that Employee B worked that day. Don’t always count on your payroll specialist to get your pay right all the time. It is a good practice to mark down your hours worked every day and add them up at the end of the pay period to make sure that you are paid for all hours worked. If you have questions about when your pay period starts, or what days it covers, ask your manager. I know from experience working in the retail industry (especially during the holidays and directly after) can be a fast-paced and hectic environment, but the money you make is important!

The advent of the holidays also means it is high-time for seasonal workers. If you fit that bill, make sure that you understand the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. A lot of employers like to higher temporary or seasonal workers and may end up misclassifying those workers as independent contractors when they are really employees. Generally, an independent contractor will receive a pay check with no taxes deducted. If you receive such a pay check, make sure you fit the bill of an independent contractor.

If you have questions about any of these topics, ask an employment attorney in your state.

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