The minimum age for hiring an employee is 14. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), has additional requirements for employees who are under the age of 18. For instance, employers must:
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- Limit the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16; and
- Prevent minors from working in jobs considered hazardous for folks their age.
It’s best to refer to the FLSA for the full list of requirements for minors, and check to see if your state has additional laws on the matter.
What jobs are considered hazardous for minors?
There are a whole host of occupations that the Department of Labor considers hazardous to minors. For example:
- Fourteen and 15 year-olds are prohibited from all work involving the use of ladders or scaffolding;
- Any minor under 18 years old cannot operate power-driven meat and poultry processing machines (e.g. a deli meat slicer) at grocery stores; and
- 17 year olds can drive for a job, but they cannot tow another vehicle.
For links to the hazardous jobs defined by the FLSA, visit this Department of Labor page.
Where can I find state laws on employing minors?
Yes, there are state laws that govern employees who are minors. These laws primarily focus on when and where a minor can work. Below are some jobs and industries that commonly employ minors, like farming and theater. Use these links to find the information for your state:
- Child entertainment (like theater or musicals)
In addition, certain states require minors to obtain employment or age certificates before being employed. You can find the details for your state on this DOL page.
And, to be sure you’re compliant with all state laws, make sure to check out your state’s department of labor website.