With summer upon us, many teenagers are looking for jobs to earn a little money and keep busy while school is out. Frequently, companies will hire extra help during this time to fill in for regular employees who are on vacation or to help them through peak periods. If your company is considering hiring teens this summer, you should acquaint yourself with state and federal child labor laws.
Both state and federal laws prohibit minors from working in hazardous jobs. The list of hazards varies by age of the teen. A partial list of jobs that are considered hazardous include:
- Working in or around explosives or radioactive substances
- Operating motor vehicles
- Logging or sawmilling
- Operating power-driven meat processing machines to include meat and vegetable slicers; slaughtering, meat packing, processing, or rendering
- Working on any scaffolding, roofs or ladders above 6 feet; roofing
- Wrecking, demolition or excavation
- Mining occupations
- Operating power-driven bakery; metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines; woodworking, paper products or hoisting machines
Further, both federal and state law impose hours of work restrictions. For example, when school is not in session, teens ages 14-15 may only work between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Additionally, most states require employers that hire teens to post their official Child Labor Poster.
Employers are encouraged to check with their workers’ compensation and general liability insurers before employing teens to confirm these new hires will be covered by the appropriate insurance coverage. As with any new hire, employers will need to complete the appropriate new hire paperwork such as Forms I-9 and W-4. Additionally, if the company normally conducts background checks and/or drug tests on applicants, those screenings should also be conducted on these individuals. Some states may require minors to obtain work permits, and federal law requires employers to maintain documents showing proof of age.
To learn more about state and federal child labor laws, you can visit the following websites:
Federal Child Labor Law: http://www.dol.gov/whd/childlabor.htm
State Child Labor Laws: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/state
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