The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has set basic restrictions on work that minors can perform, a "minor" being any person under the age of 18.
Both federal and state laws dictate the type of work that minors can perform, separated by age group. For specific state regulations, please see your state regulations of youth rules. Federal regulations specify that youth age 13 or younger are able to deliver newspapers, baby sit, perform as an actor, or work for a company or farm solely owned or operated by their parents - with the exception of hazardous jobs. After teens turn 14 years old, they can also work at the grocery store, gas station, movie theater, office and clerical positions, retail, parks and recreation, and restaurants, among others. Sixteen year-olds can perform similar jobs with the addition of using motor vehicles, with proper licensing, and any work that has not been deemed hazardous by the US Secretary of Labor. There are some exemptions for student-learner/apprentice programs available for some occupations regarded as “hazardous” for youth of at least 16 years old.
Youth under 16 years old may work no more than 8 hours per day and not more than 40 hours per week in a non-school day period. Night work is prohibited beyond 7pm for such youth during the school year, and no later than 9pm from June 1 through Labor Day. On a school day/week, youth under 16 years old may only work 3 hours per day and not more than 18 hours a week. Again, state laws may differ in terms of the hours youth are able to work; please refer to your individual state regulations.
If an investigation discloses a violation of these laws, penalties may be assessed per violation, including administrative fines of up to $10,000 for multiple offenses. Any person, firm, corporation, agent, manager, superintendent or foreman who knowingly fails to comply with these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and can also be fined upon conviction. In addition to penalties assessed to the business personnel, legal guardians of the minors in question who knowingly permit a minor to be employed in violation of these laws can also face misdemeanor charges and fines.
Detailed information about the federal FLSA can be found at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov/jobs.htm. You can also contact an attorney who deals specifically with employment law or the Human Resources professionals at Employer Solutions Group.
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