Whether they are buying a car, working for spending money, or trying to save for college, your teenager is going to want to get their own job. Here is a quick checklist of five things to know about teenagers and working.
Your Teen’s Age Determines the Type of Job They Can Hold
Employment law restricts permissible jobs for teenagers based upon their age. Teens who are 16 or 17 years old can generally work in any non-hazardous occupation, such as in a restaurant, convalescent home, grocery store, or mercantile store. Teens who are 15 years old can work in stores as cashiers, baggers, or stock clerks. However, they cannot be employed in restaurants or in food service jobs. Teens who are 14 years old are largely restricted to working for golf courses as caddies, at licensed summer camps, and in “street trades” like newspaper delivery, shoe shining, and baby-sitting. Other than in very limited settings, teens under 14 years old cannot hold jobs.
Teens Can Only Work Limited Days and Hours Per Week
Teenagers who attend high school cannot work during normal school hours. Teens can generally work greater numbers of hours and on more days during non-school weeks (vacations or summer break) than during school weeks. Workers who are 16 years old and 17 years old are permitted more working hours and days than those under 16 years old. The Department of Labor sets standards for maximum hours and maximum number of days worked per week based on different types of jobs.
Teens Need “Working Papers” to Verify Themselves
Your teen is required to provide a “Certificate of Age Form” completed by their school administrator to their employer. The idea behind the form is that the school system will verify your teen’s age and also ensure that the job is appropriate for them under the law. This form is commonly referred to as their “Working Papers.” To get their Working Papers, your teen will need to present documentation of their age (birth certificate, passport, driver’s license) and a written Promise of Employment from their employer. The school will then confirm their age and sign off on the Working Papers, provided your teen is age-appropriate for the particular job.
Some Jobs are Too Dangerous For Teen Workers
No one under 18 years old can work in a hazardous job. The law prohibits teens from being employed in jobs that are considered too dangerous. Forbidden jobs for teenage workers include:
- Handling explosives
- Meat packing and processing, including using electric deli slicers
- Logging and saw milling
- Manufacturing brick and tile products
Teen Jobs Shouldn’t Involve Much Driving
Teenagers under 18 years old have restricted driver’s licenses. They have a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and for their first year of driving they are prohibited from having passengers in their cars. Employment laws reinforce these restrictions. Teens who are 16 years old cannot drive at all as part of their job. Teens who are 17 years old can drive up to 25% of their work time. Their driving is restricted to vehicles no larger than a three-quarters ton sized truck. Teenage workers are not permitted to drive fork lifts, heavy machinery, or construction equipment.
If you have additional questions about your teen and getting a job, contact my office. I am happy to help.