The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division mandates that employers comply with the youth employment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the implementing regulations of 29 CFR Part 570. These provisions are designed to protect young workers by restricting the types of jobs that they perform and the number of hours they work. The DOL strives to educate teens, parents, educators and employers on the federal youth employment rules in order to promote positive and safe work experiences. The following self-assessment tool is designed to identify some of the most common problems encountered regarding young workers.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you are likely not in compliance with federal regulations.
Do any workers under 18 years of age do the following:
1 Work in or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive components, including fireworks?
Minors under age 18 may not work where explosives are manufactured or stored. Such minors may, however, work in retail stores selling ammunition, gun shops, and skeet ranges.
2. Drive or serve as an outside helper on any motor vehicle (including but not limited to automobiles, trucks, golf carts, etc.) on a public road or highway?
Minors under 18 generally may not drive any type of motor vehicle or work as an outside helper on public roads or highways. This prohibition extends to the towing of vehicles and the driving of school buses and trucks. There is a limited exception to this provision that permits 17-year-olds to drive an automobile or truck (gross vehicle weight not exceeding 6,000 pounds) for limited periods of time when certain conditions are met. These conditions include that the minors possess a valid license, the driving is only during daylight hours, the driving does not involve urgent time sensitive deliveries such as delivering a pizza to a residence, and the driving is only occasional and incidental to their employment. There are additional requirements that also must be met.
3. Perform any activities that involve exposure to radioactive substances or to ionizing radiation?
Minors under 18 may not be employed in occupations that would expose them to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations.
4. Operate or assist in the operation of any power-driven hoisting apparatus (including a forklift, scissor lift, cherry picker, boom truck, work assist platform, Bobcat loader, skid steer loader, backhoe, or front end loader)?
Minors under age 18 may not operate or assist in the operation of an elevator, crane, derrick, hoist, or high-lift truck (except operating an unattended automatic operation passenger elevator) and may not perform any work which involves riding on a manlift, high-lift truck, or on a freight elevator (except a freight elevator operated by an assigned operator). Examples of other power-driven hoisting equipment that such youth may not operate or assist in operating include: forktruck, forklift truck, tiering truck, stacking truck, Bobcat loader, backhoe, front end loader, skid steer loader and skid loader. Prohibited manlifts include scissor lifts, cherry pickers, boom trucks, and work assist platforms. The prohibition includes working as a “spotter” to ensure the equipment is being operated safely. Low-lift trucks or low-lift platform trucks that are designed for transporting, but not for tiering, of material are permitted.
Do any workers under 16 years of age do the following:
1 Work during school hours?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not work during school hours. School hours are determined by the local public school in the area where the minor is residing while so employed, even if the minor does not attend the public school (i.e., attends a private school or is home schooled). Such minors may be employed outside of school hours with certain limitations. The term outside school hours means such periods as before and after school hours, holidays, summer vacations, Sundays, or any other day or part of a day when the public school district where the minor reside while employed is not in session.
2. Work before 7:00 a.m. on any day?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not be employed before 7:00 a.m. on any day.
3. Work past 7:00 p.m. between Labor Day and May 31st?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not be employed past 7:00 p.m. from the day after Labor Day through May 31. This applies even if there is not school the next day, such as Friday or Saturday night, as well as in weeks when school is not in session such as during spring break. These same minors may not work past 9:00 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.
4. Work past 9:00 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not be employed past 9:00 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day. They may not work past 7:00 p.m. between the day after Labor Day and May 31.
5. Work more than 3 hours on a school day, including Fridays?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not work more than 3 hours on a school day, including Fridays. This prohibition applies even if there is not school the next day.
6. Work more than 8 hours on any day?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may work up to 8 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays and on other days when school is not in session, as long as they do not exceed the maximum permissible hours in any workweek. They may work up to 18 hours in any week school is in session and up to 40 hours in any week school does not meet.
7. Work more than 18 hours in any week when school is in session?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not work more than 18 hours a week when school is in session. For these purposes, school is in session in any week in which school meets, even if it meets for a part of a day or a portion of the week. School hours and school weeks are determined by the local public school where the minor would attend if he or she attended public school.
8. Work more than 40 hours in any week when school is not in session?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not work more than 40 hours in a week when school is not in session. They may not work more than 18 hours in a week when school meets. For these purposes, school is in session in any week in which school meets, even if it meets for a part of a day or a portion of the week. School hours and school weeks are determined by the local public school where the minor would attend if he or she attended public school.
9. Operate any power-driven machinery, other than office machines?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not operate most power-driven machinery, including lawnmowers, trimmers, and “weed-whackers”. These minors may operate office machinery, vacuum cleaners, floor waxers, and machines and devices used in connection with preparing and serving food and beverages, such as dishwashers, toasters, popcorn poppers, milk shake blenders, coffee grinders and microwave ovens that do not have the capacity to warm above 140°F.
10. Ride as a passenger in a motor vehicle (other than public transportation) as part of the job?
The child labor rules allow 14- and 15-year-olds to ride inside the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, but not when a significant reason for the minor being a passenger in the vehicle is for the purpose of performing work in connection with the transporting of, or assisting in the transporting of, other persons or property. As the transporting of, or assisting in the transporting of, other persons or property need only be a significant reason for the minor being in the vehicle and not the primary reason, permissible trips are fairly limited. When such youth are permitted to ride in the passenger compartment, each youth must have his or her own seat in the passenger compartment; each seat must be equipped with a seat belt or similar restraining device, and the employer must advise each passenger that such seat belts or devises are to be used. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may never be employed as helpers on motor vehicles.
11. Work in occupations in connection with warehousing and storage?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not be employed in warehousing and storage occupations. A limited exception would apply for office or sales work.
12. Perform work on cars and trucks that involves the use of pits, racks or lifting apparatus or involves the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring?
Minor 14 and 15-years old may not perform work involving the use of pits, racks or lifting apparatus or involving the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring.
13. Work inside a freezer or meat cooler?
Minors 14 and 15-years old are prohibited from working in freezers and meat coolers. This includes duties such as taking inventory or performing cleanup work which would require them to enter and remain in coolers or freezers for prolonged durations. These minors may enter momentarily freezers—but not meat coolers—to retrieve items.
14. Perform any work in preparation of meat for sale (except wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing, and stocking in areas separate from where the meat is prepared)?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not perform any work in preparation of meats for sale except for wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking in areas separate from where the meat is prepared. They may not perform any work in a meat cooler.
15. Perform any work in connection with maintenance or repair of the establishment, machines or equipment?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not perform any work in connection with maintenance or repair of the establishment, machines or equipment.
16. Perform any work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not perform work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes.
17. Load or unload goods from a truck, railroad car or conveyor?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not load or unload goods to and from conveyors, trucks, railroad cars or tanks, trucks, boats, planes, or other mean of transportation. Such minors may load onto motor vehicles and unload from motor vehicles the light, non-power-driven, hand tools and personal protective equipment that the minor will use as part of his or her employment at the work site, and the personal items such as a back pack, a lunch box, or a coat that the minor is permitted to take to the work site.
18. Perform any occupation in a warehouse?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not perform any work in a warehouse, but they may perform office and clerical work in the office of a warehouse.
19. Operate any hoisting equipment, including such equipment as scissor lifts, motorized hand trucks, forklifts, or grocery cart retrieval systems and cart caddies?
Minors 14 and 15-years old may not perform work involving the operation or tending or hoisting equipment—whether power-driven or operated manually or by gravity. Such equipment includes forklifts, scissor lifts, motorized hand trucks, patient lifts, winches, cart caddies, or QuicKart (used to move large strings of shopping carts from the parking lot to the front of the store).
20. Are any of your employees under 14 years of age?
Minors 13 years of age and younger are generally too young for employment under the Federal child labor provisions. Permissible employment for such minors is limited to exempt work such as delivering newspapers, performing casual babysitting, acting, performing minor chores around private homes, and working for a parent who is the sole owner of a business (in occupations other than mining, manufacturing, or anything prohibited by an HO).
21. Do you fail to maintain a record providing proof of age for all employees under 19 years of age?
Employers are required to maintain and preserve certain records, including the date of birth for all employees who are less than 19 years of age.
Employers may protect themselves from unintentional violation of the child labor provisions by keeping on file an employment or age certificate for each minor employed to show that the minor is the minimum age for the job. Although the Wage and Hour Division no longer issues age certificates, certificates issued under most state laws are acceptable for purposes of the FLSA.
In addition to Federal Laws, your state Department of Labor may have additional stricter laws that will require compliance. The rule is following the most strict of either the Federal or State law and you will be legal.
If you have any questions regarding hiring minors to work in your business, email me. Our insurance agency has a full time attorney on staff to handle your legal inquiries. He is not only a licensed attorney in the state of PA, but has his insurance license as well.