Employing Kids This Summer?


With the month of May right around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about hiring youth for summer jobs. Many employers feel discouraged about hiring employees who are under 18 years old because they are worried about violating child labor regulations. Taking a glance at child labor regulations and penalties can leave you with a daunting feeling of, “I’d rather not take the chance”, but summer employment is a great way for minors to learn job skills and minimum wage pays more than a weekly allowance!  The most important thing to do when hiring is minors is to take a close look at both the applicable federal and state child labor regulations to make sure that the minor employee is working in an allowed occupation and within allowed hours. We’ll go over the federal regulations here in detail.

Remember that if your business is a hospital, school, institution for the sick, aged, etc. or a public agency, all of your employees are covered by these rules. If you are not one of those, but your business does at least $500,000 per year in gross sales and you have at least 2 employees, then these rules also apply to all of your employees. If your business does less than $500,000, but you have minors that engage in interstate commerce activities like swiping credit cards that are processed out of state or ordering goods from out of state, then these rules would also apply to those employees on an individual basis.  Informal arrangements with minors to babysit or mow your yard with their family lawn mower are not covered by federal child labor regulations.

Let’s take a look at the federal guidelines found in the Fair Labor Standards Act.  They apply to covered employees under the age of 18.  Once an employee turns 18 they are no longer considered a minor and no federal child labor regulations apply.  Federal regulations do not require any type of child labor permit or certificate but they do require that you keep the date of birth on record.

Generally speaking there are two types of youth employment, agricultural and non-agricultural. The restrictions on non-ag employment are much greater than on ag work.  Within each category the rules change if the minor is employed by a parent.  So let’s take a look at each category.

Non-Agricultural Employment

For Non-Ag employment there are three important age categories.

16-17 years old: No restrictions on time of day or numbers of hours. They may do any job other than those declared hazardous. There are 17 hazardous occupations.  You may check out the list here. Most are obvious, like working at a manufacturing facility that makes explosives, or working with exposure to radioactive substances, or mining. However there are several that routinely get employers in trouble like operating power-driving meat processing equipment (includes meat slicers), operating power-driven dough mixers, operating power-driven trash compactors, operating power-driven types of saws and working on or about a roof.  The most common child labor violation for hazardous occupations is driving. Even if they have a license, 16 year olds may never drive as part of their job.  If they are 17 years old, they may drive under very limited circumstances.

14-15 years old: Restrictions on type of work and hours. They may not work more than 3 hours on a school day, 8 hours on a non-school day, 18 hours per school week, and 40 hours per non-school week.  They may not work before 7am or after 7pm, except from June 1st – Labor Day when they may work until 9pm. There is a list of 16 permissible occupations for 14-15 years old. If it’s not on the list, it’s prohibited. The list can be found here.

Under 14 years old: Employment not allowed.

Exceptions: These rules do not apply to children employed as actors or performers, children engaged in newspaper deliveries, or children who make wreaths in their home.

Employed by a Parent in Non-Ag Work: If you are employing your child in non-ag work, most child labor restrictions do not apply. Basically, they may do anything other than the hazardous occupations.  Also, children under 16 employed by parents may not work in any type mining or manufacturing.  Watch out for driving. Even if your child has a license, driving is considered a hazardous occupation for anyone under 17, and is very restricted for 17 year olds. Also, be aware that in order for the “employed by a parent” to apply, the business has to be 100% owned by the parent.

Agricultural Employment:

16-17 years old: No restrictions on type of work, time of day, or number of hours.

14-15 years old: May work any number of hours outside of school hours in any occupation except those deemed hazardous.  See the list of hazardous ag jobs here.

12-13 years old: May be employed outside of school hours with written parental consent or on a farm where the parent is also employed.  Only non-hazardous occupations.

Under 12 years old: May be employed outside of school hours with parental consent on a farm where the employees are exempt from federal minimum wage provisions.  Only non-hazardous occupations.

Employed by a Parent in Ag Work: If you are employing your child in agricultural work they may do any type of occupation at any time. There are no restrictions.

Please check out your state’s regulations on child labor. A few states have more restrictive rules, but most are either the same or more lenient than the federal regulations. Here is a list of State Department of Labor websites.  If you are employing a minor in the State of Colorado you should check out this fact sheet.

We hope you found this week’s tip helpful and informative. Please pass it along to anyone who might be hiring minors for summer employment. Follow us on facebook to get the next Tip of the Week on your newsfeed!

Link: https://laborbrain.com/employing-kids-this-summer/

–       By Kalen Fraser

The Labor Brain Inc. is not a law firm and its employees do not practice law or provide legal services.  The information provided on our website,  in email correspondence with representatives of The Labor Brain, and at outreach events is for informational and educational purposes only.  The information provided is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. 







Coming Soon!