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Can my company employ children under the age of 18?

Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo-no12.jpgOur Employment Lawyers are often asked about employment issues concerning teenagers during the summer. Each state has specific requirements about the hours a minor employee may work. Contact one of our attorneys to discuss any specific questions you may have as below is general information.

Minors can work in certain circumstances. In general, minors are permitted to be paid at least the minimum wage for the hours they work with many exceptions. The U.S. Department of Labor also permits sub-minimum wages or stipends to be paid to workers as part of a bona fide training program or as a part of a bona fide student intern program. If the state in which the minor is employed does not have the same minimum wage exemption as federal law, then the federal exemption will not apply.

It is not appropriate to circumvent wage & hour laws by compensating young employees non-monetarily and calling them volunteers.

Connecticut
In order to be employed, all minors must receive an employment certificate or “working papers”, which is also known as a Statement of Age Form from their local school district.

Minors of the age of 14 and 15 years old may work as babysitters or in offices, summer camps and hospitals or rest homes but may not work in restaurants or food services. Minors of the age of 16 or 17 years old may not work in hazardous occupations such as roofing, excavation or any job that includes driving. However minors, who have recently graduated from high school but are not 18 years old yet, may work in the same industries as adults and for the same number of hours as adults.

New York
Minors who are the age of 14 years must obtain an employment certificate or “working papers” from their local school district prior to beginning employment. However, working papers are not required for the following activities: babysitting, entertainment/performance work, and casual employment.

Minors who are 14 and 15 years old must have a Student Non-Factory Employment Certificate. They may only work after school hours and during vacations. They may do office work or delivery work only by foot, by bicycle, or by bus. They may not work in construction or manufacturing. They also may not paint, clean the exterior of a building, act as a helper on a motor vehicle, or operate machinery. When school is in session, they may work a maximum 18 hours per week, with a 3 hour daily maximum on weekdays. During vacations, they may work up to 40 hours per week for a maximum 8 hours per day. From the day after Labor Day until June 20, they may only work between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM. From June 21 through Labor Day, they may work between the hours of 7 AM and 9 PM.

Minors who are 16 or 17 years old and in school are required to obtain a Student General Employment Certificate. Minors of this age also may not work in construction or manufacturing, act as a helper on a motor vehicle, or operate hazardous machinery. When school is in session, they may work a maximum 28 hours per week, with a 4 hour daily maximum on weekdays. During vacations (meaning school is closed for an entire week or longer), they may work up to 48 hours per week for a maximum 8 hours per day. Generally, they may not work between 10 PM and 6 AM.

Minors who are 16 and 17 years of age and have left school must obtain a Full-Time Employment Certificate. This certificate allows minors to be employed in non-hazardous jobs. However, they may not perform hazardous activities, such as operating certain power-driven machines, working in construction, helping on a motor vehicle or cleaning, oiling, wiping, or adjusting belts to machinery.

Disclaimer: 

Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.