Child labor laws nothing to scoff at

Monday, June 7, 2010

With the school year ending, a new, young work force will emerge as seasonal employees for employers in need of such part-time help.

The requirements for these positions may be different than full-time employees, but the following checklist will help lead potential employers down the right path.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) restricts the hours of work and nature of occupations by age range for teens under age 18. The child labor provisions prohibit employment by minors in jobs and conditions detrimental to their health or well-being. The permissible jobs and hours of work, by age, in non-farm tasks are as follows:

*Youths 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous of not, for unlimited hours.

*Youths age 16 and 17 may perform non-hazardous jobs for unlimited hours.

*Youths age 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in various non-manufacturing, non-mining, non-hazardous jobs under the following conditions: No more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a non-school day, or 40 hours in a non-school week.

In addition, they may not begin work before 7 a.m. nor end after 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended until 9 p.m.

They may not work during school hours, except as provided in Work Experience and Career Exploration Programs (WECEP). Under these special provisions, youth ages 14 and 15 enrolled in an approved WECEP may be employed for up to 23 hours in school weeks and three hours on school days (including school hours).

*Persons under age 16 shall not be employed unless a work permit is received and kept on file. Work permits can only be issued by local school officials or by the Department of Workforce Development. Employers must keep records of the date of birth of employees under age 19, their daily starting and quitting times, daily and weekly hours worked, and their occupation.

And remember, employers are subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each employee who is the subject of a child labor violation.

Through the years, past child labor abuses have led to all these restrictions. And they remain necessary and proper to protect our children in the workplace.