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Hiring Minors: Regulations & Laws To Keep You Compliant

Believe it or not, summer is here, which means many teens are looking for summer jobs.

Countless companies hire seasonal employees, many of whom are students on summer break. Hiring a minor can be very beneficial to both the employee and the employer, but it’s important to be sure you’re abiding by state and federal child labor laws in the process.

If you’re considering hiring minors for your business, or if you already have minors working for you, then be sure to read the overview of state and federal child labor laws below to ensure you’re in compliance!

Keeping track of various laws and regulations can be tricky and overwhelming. If you need a partner to help you feel confident that your business is compliant, contact us on our website here or give us a call at 502.753.0970.

Hiring Minors: Regulations & Laws To Keep You Compliant

What Are Child Labor Laws?

Child labor laws were first enacted to protect children from the dangers of industrial workplaces of the past, but they have evolved to reflect the current economic environment. As the U.S. industrialized, factory owners hired young workers for a variety of tasks, most prominently in textile mills, which were notoriously dangerous.

While these laws may not seem as relevant today to non-industrial organizations, it’s important to recognize that many of these historic provisions still apply.

Benefits of Hiring Minors

If your organization has a prevalence of summer work, seasonal work, or evening and weekend shift work, you likely will attract a high number of candidates under the age of 18. By employing these workers, you are giving back to your community by teaching them valuable skills they can take with them into their future professional careers.

In fact, many individuals encounter their first lesson in professionalism during their jobs as youth workers. In turn, you can hire an individual at an entry level, which means you can likely pay your state’s minimum wage, saving you money, while you teach valuable skills to your youth workers.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) imposes federal restrictions on the employment of children and youth workers under the age of 18. Generally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s FLSA child labor provisions include the following restrictions:

  1. With very few exceptions, children under the age of 14 cannot usually be employed. Noted exceptions include certain jobs like working for a parent or as a newspaper carrier.
  2. Minors ages 14 – 15 are generally permitted to work a limited number of hours outside of school time, so long as they are employed in non-hazardous jobs. However, when school is in session, these restrictions greatly increase. You’ll want to be sure to check with your state regulations to see what scheduling regulations apply.
  3. Older teenagers ages 16 – 17 are typically not restricted from working during school hours, but they are subject to limits on the number of hours worked with exceptions for agricultural employment, student workers and apprentices.
  4. Finally, children under 18 may not work in certain hazardous occupations. These include manufacturing, processing, construction jobs, warehouse work and so on.

As we’ve discussed, each state has laws regulating the minimum work ages, the hours of work permissible, the type of employment allowed, and the required documentation necessary for minors.

It’s important to note that if an employer is faced with a state and federal law on the same topic, the employer is required to comply with both of those laws. Generally, the easiest way to ensure compliance with both laws would be to follow the law that is most friendly to the employee.

For more information on federal child labor laws, visit the Department of Labor website here.

Below you’ll find an overview of child labor laws for minors ages 14 – 17 in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. If you’re outside of this region, you’ll be able to find your local child labor laws on your state government website.

Kentucky

Ages 14 – 15 in Kentucky

Minors ages 14 – 15 are permitted to work, but under restricted hours dependent upon whether or not school is in session. When school is in session, minors ages 14 – 15 are permitted to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. On June 1 – Labor Day, they are permitted to work from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

When school is in session, they are permitted to work 3 hours per day on a school day and 8 hours per day on a non-school day, totaling a maximum of 18 hours per week. When school is not in session, they are permitted to work up to 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week.

Ages 16 – 17 in Kentucky

Minors ages 16 – 17 still have some restrictions, but are enabled to work more hours with a wider time range than their younger coworkers. In this age group, minors are permitted to work as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 10:30 p.m. preceding a school day and 1 a.m. preceding a non-school day.

When school is in session, they are allowed to work 6 hours per day on a school day, 8 hours per day on a non-school day, and up to 30 hours per week. When school is not in session, there are no restrictions on the number of maximum hours minors 16 – 17 years of age can work.

More Kentucky Regulations

In Kentucky, minors ages 14 – 17 are prohibited from working in certain industries and occupations. For additional information on these restrictions and the documentation necessary to hire minors in the state of Kentucky, check out the Kentucky Child Labor Laws fact sheet here.

Proof of age is required for minors ages 14 – 17 in order to be employed in Kentucky. Valid proof of age includes: driver’s license, birth certificate, or a government document that includes date of birth.

Ohio

Ages 14 – 15 in Ohio

Minors ages 14 – 15 are permitted to work, but under restricted hours dependent upon whether or not school is in session. When school is in session, minors ages 14 – 15 are permitted to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. On June 1 – September 1 and during school holidays of 5 school days or more, they are permitted to work from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

When school is in session, they are permitted to work 3 hours per day on a school day and 8 hours per day on a non-school day, totaling a maximum of 18 hours per week. When school is not in session, they are permitted to work up to 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week.

Ages 16 – 17 in Ohio

In Ohio, minors ages 16 – 17 are not permitted to work prior to 7 a.m. on any day that school is in session or 6 a.m. if the individual did not work past 8 pm. the previous night. They are not permitted to work later than 11 p.m. on any night that precedes a school day.

More Ohio Regulations

Like Kentucky, Ohio maintains a list of prohibited occupations for minors ages 14 – 17, which can be found here.

The State of Ohio’s minor labor laws also requires employers to have a work permit on file for all minors ages 14 – 17. In addition, it’s important to note that Ohio requires employers to give minors at least a 30-minute break if they work 5 consecutive hours, which must be documented in a written time record and kept for two years.

Indiana

Ages 14 – 15 in Indiana

During school days, minors ages 14 – 15 are permitted to work as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m., but the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. are restricted from work. Minors may only work in this time slot on a school day if they have written permission issued by the school they attend. Minors ages 14 – 15 may work a maximum of 3 hours per day, 18 hours per week when school is in session.

When school is not in session, minors ages 14 – 15 can work up to 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, between 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., June 1 through Labor Day.

Ages 16 – 17 in Indiana

On school days, minors 16 – 17 can work as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 10 p.m., with the same 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. restriction unless they have documented school permission. Minors age 17 are permitted to work as late as 11:30 p.m. or 1 a.m. on days following a school day, if the employer has written permission from the parent or legal guardian.

From June 1 – Labor day, Minors ages 16 – 17 may work up to 8 – 9 hours per day, 30 – 48 hours per week with parental permission. Minors age 16 are permitted to work as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 10 p.m. or 12 a.m., with written parental permission. Minors age 17 do not have start or end time restrictions when school is not in session.

More Indiana Regulations

Indiana employers are required to have work permits on file for all minors ages 14 – 17, and they must maintain a written record of all days and hours worked by minors.

Indiana lists a variety of regulations and exceptions in their online Teen Labor Laws document here.

If you employ minors in Indiana, we recommend you read through this resource thoroughly to ensure you comply with the requirements.

You’re Hired!

While the regulations for hiring minors are more complex than hiring a typical employee over the age of 18, there are many benefits to hiring youth workers for your business.

We encourage you to hire youth workers to help them gain valuable skills they can carry forward into their careers.

If minor employees would make a good addition to your team, just be sure you’re abiding by the state and federal child labor regulations.

Keeping track of various laws and regulations can be tricky and overwhelming. If you need a partner to help you feel confident that your business is compliant, contact us on our website here or give us a call at 502.753.0970.

about the author: Integrity HR

    Integrity HR's human resources blog is filled with expert advice (and sassy commentary) on those everyday employment issues that give business owners and managers HR headaches. From tips on how to retain key employees to how to write your dress code policy, our blog has all the HR resources you need.

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