Feb 27, 2018

Summer’s Coming – Stay Compliant With Federal Law When Considering Youth Hires

The summer job is a right of passage for many children on school break. For the kids, it’s a chance to make some extra cash and dip their toe ever-so-slightly into the workforce. For the parents, it’s a welcome opportunity to see their children be productive someplace other than on the couch while possibly gaining a small amount of responsibility. This is the time of year when everyone asks teenagers “What are you going to do this summer?”

When considering bringing-on summer help, it is important to remember that the lazy days of school vacation don’t equate to reduced compliance standards under federal and state law. Keep the following rules in mind when considering supplementing your workforce with summer jobbers:

  • No one under 14 may be employed in any occupation except agriculture with hazard and other restrictions, and certain exempt work such as newspaper delivery, babysitting on a casual basis and acting/performing
  • 14 or 15-year-olds are limited to 8 hours per day/40 hours per week when school is not in session between the hours of 7 am – 9 pm during summer break in a variety of non-manufacturing and non-hazardous jobs with work permit available from the local school district and a written parental acknowledgment in PA (LLC-75)
  • 16 or 17-year-olds may be employed during summer break for unlimited hours in non-hazardous occupations with work permit
  • There are no age-specific limitations on 18-year olds

A list of jobs deemed hazardous and other helpful information is available from the US DOL’s “YouthRules!” website. Included among them is the use of many power tools, demolition, roofing and excavation. State departments of labor, as opposed to federal law, impose hourly and other restrictions for school-year and summer work. Youth under 16 working in businesses solely owned by their parents are not subject to daily & hourly restrictions, but hazard rules still apply. There are also limited exceptions for 16 or 17-year-old apprentices and student learners, and for 14 or 15-year-olds in school-supervised career programs. Minimum wage laws apply to all employees.

Responsible employment of summer help involving school-aged kids involves much more than an easy favor to the child of a friend or business partner. While opportunities abound for both employer and employee, careful attention to federal and state law is required.

Author: Robert R. Watson, Jr.

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