Working Age For Youth

The Youth Employment Provisions of the Wage and Hour Act are intended to protect minors by restricting the types of jobs they can hold and the hours that they can work.

Minors aged 14 through 17 face substantial restrictions on when and where they can work, and the number of hours they can work per week. If minors aged 15 or younger are not employed full-time, they must attend continuing education school for at least 15 hours a week. Employers also have to follow rules on how much time minors may work, as well as when the minors are required to attend school.

However, before a 14-year-old or 15-year-old may legally work, they need to obtain a work permit, which requires the promise of employment, parental consent, verification that the minor is attending school, and a certificate of age. Fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds who are graduating high school are not required to obtain a work permit, nor are they required to meet standards related to hours worked for that age group.

Employers are required to keep in writing at the place of work, when the work begins, written authorization by a parent or guardian of the sixteen or seventeen year old to allow employment for this young person. For individuals younger than 16, written statements from the parents or legal guardians of minors acknowledging an understanding of the duties and hours of employment, and providing authorization to work, are required. If you are an employer in Rhode Island and employ an under-16, you are responsible for maintaining the Limited Permit to Work Form Special for All Your Employees, under the age of 16, and the Age Certification Form, if you have obtained it, for under-18s.

Once a certificate of age or a special limited permit to work form is completed by the minor, it is important that the employer keeps a copy at the business location.

Those minors who reside outside of the State are required to bring the completed Work Permit form, or the certificate of age, from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, to the State and County Superintendents office at the place where they reside to obtain an authorization.

No, because the hours allowed to be worked by this age group are equal in both state and federal law, the Commissioner of West Virginias Division of Labor no longer shall issue an oversight permit allowing a minor to work after hours. The Department of Labor is authorized to issue a special permit allowing 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds to be employed until 6 a.m. or until 10 p.m., provided that no school is scheduled the next day, and following inspection of working conditions on business premises. For example, if minors younger than 16 years of age are scheduled for school the day after, those younger than 16 cannot be employed before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (except during the summer recess, from June 1 to Labor Day, when the late-night restriction is extended to 9 p.m.). They cannot be employed more than 18 hours a week while school is in session.

Minors under age 14 cannot be employed or permitted to work in any trade, with the exception of children employed in farms or performing domestic services at private homes. Youths under the age of 14 are not permitted to work at any job – other than those employed in the agricultural or entertainment industries, or for temporary employment – at any time.

The minimum age to work off-school hours and agricultural jobs is between 9 and 14 years old, depending on the state and crop. There are also special rules for jobs in entertainment, in which minimum working age may be as young as 15 days. If a states law sets the minimum working age differently than federal rules, then a higher minimum age applies.

If the state law says that a child may start work at 12 years of age, but the federal government says that the age is 14, then that child must wait until age 14, no matter what more permissive rules her state has.

At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets a minimum age to work during school hours, to do some jobs after school, and places restrictions on jobs considered dangerous. The act sets wages, hours, and safety requirements for children (persons younger than 18) working at jobs covered by the act.

In addition, the FLSA sets minimum wage standards for certain employees under the age of 20, for students, student-learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities. For example, at time of writing, new employees younger than 20 years of age may be paid the training wage $4.25 for their first 90 days on the job, while students at high school or college enrolled in school full-time may be paid 85% of Floridas minimum wage ($6.84 an hour) for up to 20 hours of part-time work for some employers.

With a few exceptions, federal and state child labor laws prohibit employers from employing youth for specific jobs, for certain periods of time, and for certain periods of time, in order to prevent work from interfering with the health, safety, and education of children. If employers do employ young apprentices to perform other labor duties in addition to the duties owed to YAs, they must obtain work authorization. Youth employment laws also address what kind of facilities the children can work at, how frequently they should clean them, and when they may be subjected to inspection.

The employer must maintain an up-to-date printed notice (Form 110) that lists the hours the child is working in the room in which he or she is working. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) says at the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets rules for minors — teenagers and children younger than 18 — like how many hours they are allowed to work, how old a minor is, and what kind of work is allowed.