Although it seems like Christmas-mania starts earlier every year, it’s important that businesses prepare for the Christmas Period in advance. One of the most important ways a business can prepare itself for increased customer demand is by hiring Christmas staff.

Here are some tips so your business can make the most out of the holiday period.

Know where you need an extra hand

It’s important that you have a good understanding of where your business needs extra staff. Are the phones a lot busier than normal? Then consider hiring a receptionist. If you run a retail business, get a feel for the times when your business tends to be busiest. If your business is online, you may want to hire staff to handle customer requests after hours.

Know where to advertise

If you only want to hire a few employees, you may want to reach out to your professional network. Websites also exist which specifically post seasonal jobs. Posting on these sites means that you’re more likely to get applicants who suit the roles you’re seeking to fill. Further, start advertising as soon as possible to attract the best pool of applicants. If you leave it too late, many of these applicants may have found other seasonal jobs.

Formalise it with a contract

Although employees are covered under industry Awards, formalising your hires with an employment contract is recommended. If you can easily define how long you’ll need extra staff for, then you should make this clear in a fixed-term contract. For example, if you only need staff from December until January, you should make this clear. If you think the employment may extend beyond the Christmas period, a casual employment agreement will be suitable. You should also understand that after 12 months a casual employee can request a permanent contract.

An employment contract will not only stipulate what you’re going to pay the employee, but can also protect your business by having other clauses covering issues such as confidentiality – so there are no grey areas if issues arise. Be sure to also have any employment agreements looked over by an employment lawyer.

Understand penalty rates

Many businesses extend their trading hours over the Christmas period. Subsequently, employees need to be paid for any extra hours worked. For example, an employee who works after 6:00pm is entitled be paid more per hour worked.

Penalty rates are normally categorised ‘time and a half’ or ‘double time’, meaning that the base wage is increased by 50% or doubled if work is completed outside normal working hours. Further, it’s important to understand that the hourly wage for a casual employee is higher than that of a part of full time employee.

Understand your obligations as an employer

If you ordinarily work as a sole trader, becoming an employer can be a big change. You’ll have to register for PAYG Withholding (which taxes employee income), make superannuation contributions, and potentially pay other taxes depending on the wages you’ll be paying. Employers who pay over a certain amount in wages have to register for Payroll Tax, and if the employees have gone to university, you may have to withhold some of their income to repay student loans.

Hiring additional staff to carry your business through the Christmas period can mean great things, such as a surge in sales and increased awareness of your brand. However, if you’re going to hire staff on a short-term basis, you have to do it the right way.

Have more questions? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Jackie Olling

Jackie is the Content Manager at LawPath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts degree from Macquarie University and has worked in the legal industry since 2014. She's interested in legal tech and the opportunities it offers to not only the legal industry, but all people.