The Protection of Young Employees in the Workplace

Many people opt to enter the workforce at a very young age to earn some extra money, develop important skills, and get a jumpstart on their peers. These vivacious, motivated young employees certainly add value to the workplace, but as an employer, you cannot forget they’re still kids.

Minor employees — especially those under 16 years of age — have everything to learn about the workforce, so keep this in mind before adding them to your staffing roster. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have established specific guidelines that must be followed for minor employees. Prior to making a hiring decision, familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure you have the resources needed to keep underage workers safe on-the-job.

5 Key Child Labor Laws Employers Must Follow

If you employ even one person under the age of 18, you need to be aware of these important child labor laws.

  • Workforce Eligibility. Generally, minors must be at least 14 years of age to be eligible for employment, according to the FLSA.
  • Work Hours. Employees under 16 years old may only work three hours per day on school days, 18 hours during a school week, eight hours on a non-school day, and 40 hours during a non-school week. Additionally, these team members may only work between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of June 1 through Labor Day, when they are allowed to work until 9 p.m.
  • Hazardous Work. Minors under the age of 18 are not permitted to work in any hazardous occupation, such as excavation, mining, operating certain types of power-driven machinery, and manufacturing explosives.
  • Driving On-the-Job. Unbeknownst to many employers, workers under age 17 are not permitted to drive any type of motor vehicle on public roads, if their job is subject to FLSA standards. Workers who are 17 years old are allowed to drive as part of their job, but only if certain requirements are met.
  • Family-Owned Businesses. Children under age 16 are legally permitted to work any number of hours, at any time of day, for a business owned or operated by a parent or guardian, as long as it is not considered a hazardous job according to standards set by the Secretary of Labor.

Learn more about child labor laws in the U.S., to make sure you’re following proper protocol.

Read the MAC Incorporated blog to find more detailed information on OSHA standards. As a niche-based recruiting and staffing firm, we specialize in the placement of top engineering, maintenance, and operations management professionals. Contact us today to learn more!