Employment Law – Protecting the Teen Job Seeker
Teen employment can be a rewarding and positive experience, not only for the teen but for the community as well. Having direction and being prepared for a future career will help the teen job seeker compete in what is highly demanding market. It is important that teens are made aware of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to employment. This is so they can be protected from exploitation and gain the most out of their working experience. Whether it’s part time work, a summer job or an after school internship teens need to be aware and have an understanding of employment laws that affect them.
The Youth Employment laws are based on the welfare and safety of teen jobholders, meaning they were put in place to provide a strict set of guidelines for what is acceptable and what is not. These guidelines are basically universal across all jobs with the exception of agricultural jobs (farming) There may be variations depending on what state you live in but the these basic guidelines will give you a solid reference point to start with.
Employment law for teens is broken down into two basic areas. What hours you are allowed to work and in what jobs. Employment laws for teens also vary depending on age.
What hours are you allowed to work?
Teens aged 14-15 years:
During the School year
· Restricted to 3 hours a day
· No more than 18 hours a week
· Work is restricted to no later than 7 p.m.
Summer jobs / when there is no school
· Up to 8 hours
· 40 hours a week
· Work is restricted to no later than 9 p.m. between June 1st and Labour day
Teens aged 16-17 years
· There are no restrictions on hours
Once you have turned 18 you are no longer subject to or protected by youth employment laws.
Where can I work and what jobs are restricted?
Under 14 years
· You can work for your parents, if the business is either owned or operated by them.
· You can have a paper run
· You can work in Television- Movies, theatre etc
· You can work in agriculture if the farm is own or operated by your parents.
· The above is a guideline to the small amount of jobs you can do at this age.
Teens aged 14-15 years:
· You can work in an office
· You can work in a restaurant
· You can work retail
· You can work in a grocery store
· You can work at a petrol station
· You can work at a movie theatre
· You can work in a café
· You can work as a babysitter
· You cannot work any job that is deemed hazardous by the Secretary of labour. (Examples of these jobs is found below)
· You cannot do any cooking or baking
· You cannot work in manufacturing or construction, or do repair jobs
· You cannot work on a ladder or scaffold
· You cannot load a truck, drive a motor vehicle or help a driver
· You cannot work in a commercial laundry or dry cleaning establishment
· You cannot work in communications or public utilities jobs
Teens aged 16-17 years:
· You can work in any job unless it has been deemed hazardous
Restrictions – Hazardous jobs
· Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle
· Manufacturing and storing of explosives.
· Coal mining.
· Logging and saw milling.
· Power-driven woodworking machines.
· Exposure to radioactive substances.
· Meat packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines).
· Power-driven hoisting apparatus.
· Power-driven paper product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors.
· Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products.
· Power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears
· Wrecking, demolition, and ship breaking operations
· Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
· Excavation operations.
Some states may require teen job seekers under the age of 18 to apply for a work permit. This applies only to those teens that are still at school and applications should be available at schools.
Minimum wage is a legal obligation for employees you cannot be paid less than the minimum wage. This is not a set wage for teens it is merely a starting point.