Many young teenagers want to work and earn their own money. However, because of past workplace abuse, there are restrictions on the types of jobs that 14 and 15 year old teens can hold. There are also restrictions on the number of hours they can work, and when these teens can work.
For Example: Beth is 15 years old and wants to get a job to earn some spending money. The local grocery store is hiring cashiers, and Beth applies for the job. Beth is friendly, honest, and responsible. She makes a good fit for the cashier job.
Can the grocery store hire Beth although she is only 15 years old?
YES. The grocery store can hire Beth as a cashier. However, the days that she can work, and the number of hours that she can work will be restricted because of her age.
Child labor conditions have been greatly reformed over the previous century. As a result, certain occupations are simply considered too dangerous to employ young teenagers. Here is a list of the jobs that they ARE allowed to work:
- “Street Trades” (newspaper delivery, shoe shine, baby-sitter)
- Hospitals/Convalescent Homes (no food services or laundry services)
- Golf Caddies (public or private courses)
- Municipality Employment (such as library, parks and recreation department)
- Licensed Summer Camps
- Mercantile (strictly limited to bagger, cashier, or stock clerk)
- Household Chores for Private Homeowners (yard work, etc.)
Jobs Not Allowed
Certain jobs are off limits to 14 and 15 year old workers. Dangers inherent in these jobs restrict the employer from hiring young teen workers.
For example, 14 years old and 15 years old workers ARE NOT allowed to work in these job fields:
- Restaurants/Food Service
- Manufacturing Industry
- Mechanical Industry
- Barber Shops
- Employment Involving Explosives
- Meat packing and processing (including slicing with electric blade slicers)
The Department of Labor has a complete list of all prohibited employments.
Hours and Times Permitted
As you can imagine, there are strong limitations on the number of hours and the permitted times for work in the case of 14 and 15 year old teenagers.
These young teens are allowed to work no more than 40 hours per week, and they cannot work more than eight hours per day. Their permitted work hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day; however, from July 1st through September 1st, they are allowed to work until 9 p.m.
Work for 14 and 15 year old workers is restricted to periods of school vacations. School vacation is defined as when school is not in session for five or more consecutive days. Practically speaking, this means summer break, Christmas vacation week, and possibly spring break. The one exception to this rule is that retail grocery store workers are allowed to work on Saturdays.
So, the local retail grocery store can hire Beth for the cashier position. Other than during her school vacations, Beth can work on Saturdays an eight hour shift between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. During her school vacations, she can work up to 40 hours, and she can work until 9 p.m. from July 1st to September 1st.
If you are unsure if your teenager can work a certain job, contact my office. I am happy to answer any questions that your family has.