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When Can You Hire Minors For Your Business?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 26, 2011 6:46 AM

Summer is coming up and teenagers have started looking for summer jobs. You may even want to hire a few.

You're probably aware that special laws apply when hiring minors, but it's a bit more tricky than hourly limits. Both state and federal laws place limitations on where a teen may work.

Here's a quick rundown on what federal law says, and how you can find out about any local restrictions.

Federally, when hiring minors, you need to pay attention to the Fair Labor Standards Act. If state laws are stricter, then they control whether you may hire a minor.

Teens are broken up into two groups--those aged 14 and 15, and those aged 16 and 17. The younger group has more restrictions on where they can work.

Neither group is permitted to perform any hazardous job that has been deemed detrimental to their health or well-being, subject to apprenticeship rules.

The Department of Labor maintains a list of hazardous jobs for both 16 and 17-year-olds and 14 and 15-year-olds. Jobs on both lists mostly involve working with chemicals and dangerous materials; manufacturing; power tools and machinery; and driving a motorized vehicle.

Minors above the age of 14 are pretty much free to work in retail, food service, office environments, gasoline service establishments, and on farms.

Don't rely solely on federal law when hiring minors--be sure to check with your state labor agency to see if there are any other restrictions on whether a teen may work at your business. And be sure to pay attention to all other requirements in case you're ever audited.

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