Hiring young people might be tempting for a business. After all, the labor is affordable since kids don’t demand high salaries and won’t need health, retirement and vacation benefits like their older counterparts. Kids are also enthusiastic, willing to do grunt work and able to handle hard labor. Before you hire minors, though, understand the law.
Federal Child Labor Rules
Find the rules about child labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It divides minors into categories based on their age.
Children under 13 may not be employed unless the job is on a farm or in a business operated by parents or guardians.
Children who are 14 to 15 years old have several restrictions.
- During the school session, they can work a maximum of three hours per day and 18 hours per week.
- Non-school sessions can include eight hours of work per day and 40 hours per week maximum.
- They may only work from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. or until 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day.
- Hour and day restrictions do not apply for kids who are employed by parents or guardians.
- They may not perform hazardous jobs, including driving motor vehicles, mining, operating certain power tool, logging, manufacturing or meat packing, packaging or slicing.
- State minimum wage guidelines apply.
Children who are 16 to 17 years old can work unlimited hours per day and days per week. Certain hazardous job limitations and state minimum wage guidelines apply.
Children over 18 are considered adults and have no restrictions on work hours or days.
Exceptions to FLSA rules do not apply to kids who work as actors, deliver newspapers or work at home with evergreen materials. Agricultural exceptions also exist.
If you decide to hire minors, make sure your paperwork is in order.
- Use an official birth certificate, driver’s license or other document to verify the minor’s age.
- Obtain an age certificate from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division.
- Your state may require you or your minor employee to get a work permit available through your state’s Department of Labor.
- Get permission from the minor’s parent and school. The authorization form is available from your state’s Labor and Industry department.
- Retain employment records for at least three years. The information includes the employee’s name, address, occupation, employment dates, pay rate, hours worked and pay received.
Before you hire minors for even small tasks like filing papers or cleaning your office, check the federal laws and your state’s Department of Labor’s website. Talk to your insurance agent and attorney, too, as you make sure you’re following the law.