Seasonal work: less pay and no benefits


Commonly understood labor laws may not apply to seasonal employers like Seven Peaks, Trafalga and summer sales companies.

Minimum wage and overtime pay laws protect America’s labor force as they try to make a living, but summer jobs and seasonal work has found the loophole to the law. According to the United States Department of Labor, employees of certain seasonal amusement or recreational establishments are exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Seasonal hires are included in the same category as casual babysitters, newspaper carriers and fishermen.

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Life guards work as seasonal employees at Seven Peaks.
“I make less than minimum wage at Seven Peaks,” said Taber Gibbons, a sophomore studying pre-med. “I’m 22, and I work with 16-year-olds who just want a summer job so their mom won’t kick them out of the house. There are other BYU students here who are working as much as possible this summer to save for next semester.”


Seven Peaks qualifies for the exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act because the employees hired are considered seasonal workers. Although Seven Peaks does not pay overtime wages, and starting hourly wages fall below the national minimum, employees sign on because of enticing end-of-season bonuses promised if they can make it to the end of the season.

“When I worked at Seven Peaks as a supervisor, we had plenty of employees who were happy to work as a guard because of the end of season bonus,” said Mark Hoskins, 22, Orem. “The only thing I hated was not getting overtime since I worked 50-hour weeks.”

Employers who can hire in the exception are narrowly defined and closely monitored by the Department of Labor.

“The Act exempts some employees from its overtime pay and minimum wage provisions, and it also exempts certain employees from the overtime pay provisions only,” the Fair Labor Standards Act states. “Because the exemptions are narrowly defined, employers should check the exact terms and conditions for each.”

Minimum wage in Utah is $7.25 per hour with overtime pay defined as time plus one half.

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