HR Compliance: Legal regulations for employing minors

Mon Sep 16 2019

The law clearly states that employees must be at least 18 years of age to be employed. Regulated through the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Child Labor Law, certain policies restrict individuals who are younger than 18 from obtaining a job. Under these laws, minors have certain set wages, a limit to the number of hours they can work, and safety requirements that need to be taken into account. These rules vary from state to state and depend on the type of job and age of the minor.

You can hire persons younger than 18, so long as you complete the required documentation and obtain the proper approvals by both the individual's parents and school. Minors are required to have an active work permit if they wish to work. These permits include the maximum number of hours they can work in a day and week as well as other restrictions from their schools. Young teens, in fact, are prohibited from working during certain hours of the week or during hours that may interfere with their academics.

Persons under 21 cannot serve liquor. According to federal law, individuals who are under the legal drinking age are not permitted to serve alcohol at work. In California, however, minors between the ages of 18-21 are able to serve alcohol only in a public eating establishment but are restricted from places which mainly serve alcohol (i.e., bars or nightclubs).

Persons must be at least 18 years of age in order to function in certain capacities, classifications, or positions. Minors are prohibited from certain positions that involve driving a vehicle, hazardous materials, or operation of power-driven equipment. Other restricted occupations are only permitted to individuals who meet the minimum age limit. For example, minors who are a minimum of 16 years old are permitted to work as a messenger for a telephone company; whereas 14-15 year olds can run errands and make deliveries by foot, public transportation, or via bicycle.

Make sure you understand the law and comply - Do not open yourself to potential litigations for non-compliance. Get to know the laws surrounding employment of minors, both at the state and federal level. Employing a minor when it is not permitted may affect the minor’s academic potential and safety as well as result in potential lawsuits and/or fines for your company.