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Summer Jobs for Teens: 3 Things to Keep in Mind

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 02, 2011 9:48 AM

Its summer job hunting season and teens are looking for work.

Whether the decision to get a summer job is motivated by financial needs or imparting the age-old lesson of responsibility, teen jobs are a lot more complicated than you may think.

To help you get through the initial summer job hunt phase unscathed, here are some things to keep in mind.

Get your paperwork in order.

Employers are required by law to verify that teens are above the age of 14. Some may request birth certificates or state-issued identification cards. Others--and some states--may require a certificate of age, or a work permit, issued by a state agency.

So before you start the summer job hunt, double check with your state department of labor and find out just what you'll need.

Apply to the right jobs.

Unfortunately, the law also limits teen jobs to certain industries and occupations. Teens between the ages of 14 and 17, subject to a few exceptions, are not allowed to work in jobs that the government has deemed hazardous.

This means that teens can't work at manufacturing plants; with hazardous chemicals or substances; in construction; where they need to drive a motorized vehicle; or with power tools. Teens, however, are generally free to work in retail, food establishments, offices, and gas stations.

Understand hour caps.

Teens aged 16 and 17 can work as many hours as they want at a summer job, but those aged 14 and 15 are limited by law.

If a 14 or 15-year-old teen is in school or taking classes, she may only work 3 hours per school day and 18 hours per school week. However, on non-school days and weeks, she may work 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.

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