With summer on top of us, there is no better time than now for the employer who relies on temporary employees to revisit what kinds of insurance coverages are available for them. The time you spend ahead of time doing a bit of research will spare your business a good deal of revenue and may save you as a business owner from a lot of grief should one of your seasonal workers experience illness or a job-related accident.
Here are some basics about insurance for temporary employees that every business needs to know.
Federal guidelines require employers to provide these to every employee whether full-time, part-time, or temporary. It is essential that you check with your state department of labor so you can determine what laws apply in your state.
- Unemployment Benefits – Employers are generally not exempt from the obligation of guaranteeing unemployment benefits to temporary employees but there are some exemptions. Seasonal employees, because of the requirements of your business may be exempt if they are hired for periods of ten weeks or less.
- Social Security/Medicare – Employers are required to withhold part of Social Security and Medicare taxes from their employees’ wages and match that amount themselves.
- Workers’ Compensation – Employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage on a self-insured basis, through a commercial carrier, or through a state Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.
Sometimes called “fringe” benefits, these are not required by law but serve to ensure you attract the kind of temp worker you need for your business. Probably, the most important of these is medical coverage.
Short Term Medical Insurance (STM)
Generally available for periods of 30 to days 90 days, an STM gives temporary employees good coverage for a limited period of time. In some cases, insurers make short-term insurance available for up to 12 months. There are a number of good options for meeting insurance requirements for temps and interns.
If an agency supplies your temp workers, it is vital that you do not assume your new workers are covered sufficiently. That means checking to ensure the employees the agency supplies are covered at a minimum under their workers’ comp.
If those temp employees are covered by the agency, then you’re good – additional insurance is not required to them on temporarily. If they’re not, there are few more thing that needs to be settled before hiring them. No insurance is never a good idea but those gaps can be filled quite readily.
When it comes to soft benefits like medical, it is best to be explicit with potential temp workers during the recruiting process what you do and do not provide.
Whatever business you may have, hiring seasonal workers requires knowing the rules.
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