It is the first week in June, which means that school is out for the summer! As school ends, summer jobs begin for many students. Employing students can be great for both the student and the employer, as the student gets money, experience, and hopefully some fun memories. Employers get relatively inexpensive, energetic employees whose lives they have a unique opportunity to impact. Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, it could be if employers make sure that they are knowledgeable of and in compliance with the law for employing minors. Here are some of the most important things that employers should keep in mind in regards to the employment of minors:
• Make Sure Your Employees Are Old Enough for the Job - Children under 14 are not allowed to work except in very limited circumstances like babysitting, umpiring, and working as a golf caddie. Children 14 and 15 years old can do more, like office clerical work, stocking shelves, and working as a cashier. However, they can only work a maximum of 40 hours a week and 8 hours a day during the summer, and only 3 hours a day and 18 hours a week while school is in session. 16 to 18-year-olds can perform most type of work, except, as discussed below, that which the U.S. Department of Labor deems hazardous. They also cannot serve alcohol.
Employers should also be sure to verify an employee’s age before hiring him or her. If a minor turns out to be younger than what he or she told the employer, this will not protect the employer from liability.
• Keep Minors Away from Hazardous Occupations - Those under 18 cannot work in occupations that the Department of Labor has deemed to be hazardous, a list of which you can view by clicking here. These occupations include driving and operating heavy machinery, operating many types of power tools, mining, being around radioactive substances, and manufacturing or storing explosives.
Penalties for violating these laws might include fines of up to $5,000 for each violation. Willful violations of the law can lead to Class A misdemeanor charges. It might be worth consulting with an attorney before you hire a minor to make sure that you are in compliance with the law.