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School's soon Out For Summer: Avoiding the Perils of Student Worker Payroll and Health and Safety Management

Written by : ADP Canada
With high schools and universities across Canada emptying out in the next weeks, many employers will be capitalizing on eager, affordable student workers in the summer months. For students, it’s an opportunity to earn some much-needed cash while school’s out. But according to ADP Canada, the country’s leader in outsourced employer services (including payroll and HR for part-time and seasonal workers), if employers and their temporary summer staff take a lax approach to payroll rules, they could both be in for a headache later.

“Student workers may just be temporary cheap help, but in the eyes of Revenue Canada they’re no different than the CEO – so employers need to get it right,” says Angela Haier, Vice President, Small Business Solutions, ADP Canada. “At the same time, when the tax man comes calling in April, if things aren’t done right, he may be calling the student too.”

While many employers hire students to help in busy summer months, calculating and processing income tax deductions, vacation pay, benefits, T4s and records of employment for a rapidly expanded employee roster can be an annual headache. But for the 35,000 employers that rely on ADP Canada to handle their payroll and/or HR administration, it’s business as usual.

At ADP Canada, we tell our customers “don’t forget about the basics”. Here are a couple of tips for employers who will be hiring summer students or seasonal workers:

  • You need to treat your student workers and seasonal employees like you would any other employee
    • This means Federal and Provincial TD1 forms must be filled out, and if the employee is over the age of 18 they must contribute to the Canada Pension Plan
    • Employers also need to capture the student’s Social Insurance Number in order to complete future tax forms
  • One of the most common oversights we see among ADP’s more than 35,000 employers is incorrect or missing mailing address information
    • Students move all the time, and as an employer, you need to know where that student will be come February when you’re required to send out T4 statements
    • A good tip for students is to remember to provide your employer with an alternate address, like a family address
  • In most provinces employers do not have to give students vacation time while they work for you, however students are entitled to vacation pay -- employers need to ensure they meet the legislative requirements regarding vacation payments.
Moreover, few companies spend time planning what they should do when they these young workers first come on board, namely, what training, information and supervision they should be given. This oversight can have disastrous consequences.

The statistics speak loud and clear. In 2006, the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité (CSST) reported 17,138 employment injuries among workers age 24 and under, meaning an average of 1,428 events per month! These injuries can destroy the lives and shatter the dreams of the young adults involved. And worse still, 11 young people actually die on the job every year. Surprised? Then you should know that relatively speaking, workers under 25 years of age are involved in 50% more work-related accidents than workers over 25. Many factors explain these alarming statistics:

  • Young people have little or no experience because they are just beginning their work careers.
  • Very often they are subject to work constraints, such as handling heavy loads, repetitive work, irregular hours, etc.
  • Workers under 25 years of age change jobs frequently.
  • Some young workers even feel that they are invincible, or quite simply, that they are never tired or stressed.
  • Young people do not know their rights and responsibilities in terms of occupational health and safety, nor those of the employer.
But above all, young people are given little or no training in occupational health and safety, and for the most part, are poorly informed about the nature of the risks present in the company where they are working. When you consider that half of the injuries sustained by young workers occur during their first six months on a new job, it becomes clear just how important it is for employers to integrate these young workers properly into the workplace.

Simply welcoming them into the company is not enough… All employers must “give the worker adequate information as to the risks connected with his work and provide him with the appropriate training, assistance or supervision to ensure that he possesses the skill and knowledge required to safely perform the work assigned to him” (s. 51.9 AOHS). Whether the person is hired on a permanent or temporary basis, full-time or part-time, the employer has the same obligation.

Orienting and integrating new employees goes beyond simply wishing them welcome. Successful integration means providing workers with certain key information. The following list, though not exhaustive, will help you create an orientation/integration program for new employees:

  • the company policy on occupational health and safety;
  • safety-related instructions and occupational health and safety rules;
  • the rights and responsibilities of the worker and the employer regarding occupational health and safety;
  • the resource persons available in occupational health and safety and their role (OHS committee members, prevention representative, first aiders, supervisors, etc.);
  • the procedure to follow in the event of an accident or when a high-risk or dangerous situation occurs;
  • the location of and instructions on how to use emergency equipment (first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, etc.);
  • the required personal protective equipment (PPE), and how it should used, stored and cleaned, if applicable;
  • the training they will receive (WHMIS, driving a forklift truck, etc.);
  • the risks specifically associated with the work to be performed and the work environment (load handling, noise, travel paths, chemical products, etc.);
  • the accident-prevention action plan, etc.
Ideally, new workers should be given orientation within a few days of being hired. The sooner this process takes place, the clearer it will be to new employees that occupational health and safety is important to the employer. They will also feel that they are taken seriously and that their work within the company is regarded as important.

Sources: Statistics Department of the CSST.

With more than 50,000 clients across Canada, ADP Canada (ADP) is the country’s largest provider of employer-related services. Among ADP Canada’s traditional outsourcing products and services and those offered via the internet, the company offers payroll, human resources management, time and labour management, as well as occupational health and safety, and comprehensive outsourcing and consulting services. ADP Canada pays one in five Canadians. For more information on the employer-related services offered by ADP Canada, please click here

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