Young people make up a huge part of the nation's workforce. In order to take full advantage of this resource while maintaining compliance, employers should have a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations regarding youth employment.
For almost all occupations, 16 is the magic number when employing young people. At the age of 16, an individual may work in any occupation that has not been declared a hazardous job by the Secretary of Labor. For all other occupations, youths over the age of 16 may be employed by any employer to work any shift for the standard number of hours.
Occasionally, employers may wish to employ young people between 14 and 15 years old. Individuals in this age range cannot work in manufacturing or in certain jobs that the Secretary of Labor has declared as hazardous. Understandably, there are other specific provisions that apply when employing young people under the age of 16. These provisions are provided to employers through the Child Labor Regulation and require employers to follow the specific conditions and rules regarding the employment of minors.
Generally speaking, young people ages 14 and 15 may be employed by food service, retail sales and gas station service establishments. These young individuals may also work for certain states and local governments, so long as their employment and duties fall within certain guidelines.
As young individuals make up a huge portion of the workforce, it is completely understandable that employers would want to tap into this resource. In order for employers to receive the full benefit of a youthful workforce, it is imperative that they stay informed of child labor laws and regulations, and work with an experienced employment law attorney to develop effective and compliant employment practices.