Seasonal Workers: HR Challenges and How to Overcome Them - XCD

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Managing a workforce that includes seasonal workers can be both a blessing and a challenge for HR professionals. On one hand, seasonal workers bring valuable support and flexibility to organisations during peak periods or specific seasons. They contribute to increased productivity and help meet the demands of fluctuating workloads. However, on the other hand, handling the unique HR challenges associated with seasonal workers can sometimes be overwhelming.

The challenges faced by HR professionals when managing seasonal workers are multifaceted. From the recruitment and training process to scheduling shifts, ensuring compliance with labour laws, and maintaining employee engagement, the range of responsibilities can be demanding. HR professionals should strive to strike a delicate balance between meeting the organisation’s objectives and providing a positive experience for both the regular and seasonal workforce.

So, let’s explore the challenges associated with managing a seasonal workforce and how HR can overcome them. 

Seasonal work explained

Seasonal work is a type of temporary employment where an individual works at certain times during the year. This might be full-time or part-time seasonal work. Temporary seasonal workers are used by businesses to fill staffing demands around particular busy periods. Examples may include retail businesses in the holiday season, summer camps during the summer, or agricultural organisations during harvesting times.

Challenges of seasonal workers

HR professionals face several challenges when managing seasonal workers. Seasonal workers bring particular challenges around compensation and leave calculations, timesheets, expenses, security, recruitment, onboarding, and training.

Let’s take a look at one particular challenge: time and expenses. Efficiently tracking time and managing timesheets for seasonal workers can be a complex task for employers. Seasonal workers often have varying schedules and work hours. Manual time tracking methods can be prone to errors and inaccuracies, leading to discrepancies in payroll calculations and potential disputes. Therefore, employers need a reliable system to accurately track and record the hours worked by seasonal workers.

It’s also down to HR to manage the collection and processing of timesheets. Collecting timesheets in a timely manner is crucial for accurate payroll processing; delays in timesheet submission can hinder payroll calculations and lead to payment delays for seasonal workers. Without accurate timesheets and time tracking as well as contract information and personnel files, HR cannot accurately calculate holiday entitlement and holiday pay for seasonal workers. A reliable system for storing and processing all this information is essential for Administering SSP for seasonal workers who need to take sick leave.

Fortunately, HR software can be instrumental in overcoming the challenges associated with managing seasonal workers, empowering human resources teams to better streamline all HR processes across the workforce. Let’s take a closer look at some of the many benefits of using HR software. 

How XCD HR and payroll software helps with seasonal workers

Automate calculations for compensation and leave

With XCD time tracking and expense management software, you can automate leave entitlement calculations and part-period pro-rata payments for employees on different work cycles. With easy-to-use configurable timesheets and flexible work cycles, HR teams can easily keep track of all employees’ time worked, including trackers for permanent full-time employees and seasonal workers with fixed contracts. The timesheet software makes it easy to automatically calculate compensation and leave entitlement for all types of employees, ensuring total accuracy and efficiency every time. Plus, as a single solution software with built-in payroll capabilities, both seasonal and permanent employees can enjoy accurate and on-time payroll.

Paperless expense management 

Intuitive expense reporting and tracking features built into the software also help HR better manage seasonal workers. All staff can instantly upload expense receipts from the mobile app for approval, initiating a streamlined paper-free workflow. The expense reports are routed to the right person or persons for approval, then reimbursements are automatically calculated and processed. Permanent employees and seasonal workers can be allocated different permissions and approval processes, ensuring that HR can keep on top of expense tracking and management for all employee types. Plus, the mobile app means that employees can use the expense management software no matter where they are in the world and at any time of day!

Built-in data security and compliance 

When managing large volumes of seasonal employees, HR and payroll teams have to process vast amounts of sensitive and personal data. Using a cloud-based HR platform based on Salesforce ensures total data security to keep all personal information private. Custom access permissions and levels ensure that only the right people have access to the right data, while in-built GDPR and HMRC compliance features ensure that your business is not exposed to any data liabilities. 

Recruitment and onboarding

When hiring staff for seasonal work, a seamless recruitment and onboarding experience is key. You need to be able to effortlessly publish vacancies, manage the entire hiring process, and provide a smooth transition from hiring into onboarding to ensure that your seasonal staffing needs are met quickly and effectively. An automated onboarding process with e-sign technology and employee self-service is key to a smooth and repeatable process where seasonal hiring can be completed quickly and effectively. XCD’s HR software provides all these key features and more to ensure that the perfect seasonal teams can be brought on board successfully. The smooth transition from recruitment to training ensures that employees can be trained sufficiently in a limited timeframe.

People analytics to inform decision-making

Achieving visibility over the whole workforce, including both seasonal and permanent staff, is essential for strategic HR practices. With XCD HR software’s powerful data analytics capabilities, teams can gain real-time insights into a wide range of HR metrics, from performance and time tracking to absenteeism, holiday, and sick leave, which can shed light on business operations during the peak period.

Moreover, people analytics capabilities within HR software enable HR professionals to forecast workforce needs and plan strategically for future seasonal staff. By analysing historical data on seasonal worker performance, turnover rates, and demand patterns, HR professionals can better anticipate future staffing requirements. This helps in optimising recruitment efforts, determining appropriate staffing levels, and aligning workforce availability with business needs during peak seasons. 

Seasonal workers: HR’s frequently asked questions

Are seasonal workers entitled to holiday pay?

Yes, seasonal workers are entitled to holiday pay from their employer. However, calculating the amount of holiday they have accrued and the holiday pay they are entitled to can be tricky. 

In line with the Working Time Regulations 1998, almost all workers who are not self-employed are entitled to statutory holiday pay. The law says that workers should get a statutory entitlement of 5.6 weeks’ holiday each year from their employer, which equals 28 days for any employee who works 5 days a week or more. This is the minimum holiday entitlement — some employers may choose to offer more annual leave.

Since 6 April 2020, the reference period for calculating holiday pay has increased from 12 to 52 weeks, which aims to ensure that holiday pay is calculated more fairly for seasonal workers. If they have been employed for less than 52 weeks, the reference period is the length of their employment, including only weeks when they were paid. 

Do seasonal workers get sick pay? 

Seasonal workers are usually entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) if they have started working for the employer already, earn at least £123 a week on average, before tax, and are sick for 4 full days or more in a row. Seasonal workers who work part time, are on zero-hours contracts, or are on fixed-term contracts are entitled to statutory sick pay from their employer if they meet these conditions. 

The amount of SSP a seasonal worker is entitled to depends on their average weekly earnings. Employers are responsible for providing SSP to eligible seasonal workers and should follow the guidelines set by the government.

What UK labour legislation applies to seasonal workers? 

Some key UK laws relating to seasonal employment that HR professionals and employers should be aware of include: 

Employment Rights Act 1996: This covers employment rights and protections for workers, including seasonal workers.

Working Time Regulations 1998: This sets out the maximum working hours, rest breaks, and annual leave entitlements for workers, including seasonal workers. This law requires employers to provide a minimum level of paid sick leave to their employees. This includes seasonal workers who meet the eligibility criteria.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage: Employers must ensure that they pay seasonal workers at least the minimum wage as set by the government. 

Additionally, legislation such as the Equality Act 2012, the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, and more also apply to all workers, including seasonal staff. 


In conclusion, seasonal workers bring immense value to organisations during peak periods or specific seasons. Their flexibility, specialised skills, and willingness to work within specific timeframes contribute significantly to maintaining operational efficiency and meeting customer demands. The good news is that with the right HR software human resources teams can successfully manage seasonal workforces and unlock their full potential.

Ready to find out how XCD HR software can transform HR processes in your organisation? Book a demo today or get in touch to learn more.