Summer Is Here — Hiring Teens Beware!
Summer is finally upon us. The kids are out of school. Some will play; others will endeavor to make a buck or two, hopefully learning a thing or two on the way. If you are an employer expecting to hire teens this summer, beware of the prickly thicket of federal and state child labor laws.
First, it is important to note that with some limited exceptions, employment of persons under 14 is prohibited. Persons age 14 and 15 may work, but Ohio law restricts their summer employment to 8 hours per day, and a total of 40 hours per week. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may not start work before 7 a.m., and their work day must end by 9 p.m.
Work hours for persons between 16 and 18 are not restricted during the summer; neither are the total number of hours they may work. However, all minors may not work more than five consecutive hours without a rest period of at least thirty minutes.
The law also restricts what kinds of work minors may perform. As a general rule, persons under 18 may not perform "hazardous" tasks. Both Ohio and federal law classify certain activities and work equipment as hazardous, although these lists are not exhaustive.
Under Ohio law, the following jobs are considered hazardous:
Ø Motor vehicle drivers and helpers
Ø Occupations in the operation of power-driven metal forming, punching and shearing machines
Ø Occupations in the operation of circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
Ø Wrecking, demolition and ship breaking operations.
Federal law states that minors under age 18 may NOT perform any work in:
Ø Wrecking or demolition operations;
Ø Mining or logging.
Under federal law, minors also are forbidden from operating ANY power-driven equipment, including, but not limited to, punch presses, saws, meat slicers and bakery/food processing machines.
Until 1998, all minors were forbidden from operating motor vehicles, however the law has since been relaxed to allow 17-year-olds to drive under certain conditions. Among these conditions, the minor must have a valid driver license and have no moving violations on his driving record, driving must be incidental to the job, it must occur during daylight hours, and driving is restricted to vehicles under 6,000 pounds. Some kinds of driving are still specifically excluded. These include:
Ø Towing of vehicles
Ø Route deliveries or route sales
Ø The transportation for hire of property, goods or passengers
Ø Urgent, time-sensitive deliveries
Ø More than two trips away from the primary place of employment for the purpose of delivering goods of the 17-year old employee's employer to a customer (other than urgent, time-sensitive deliveries)
Ø More than two trips away from the primary place of employment in a single day for the purpose of transporting passengers (other than employees of the employer)
Ø Transporting more than three passengers (including employees of the employer)
Ø Driving beyond a 30 mile radius from the 17-year old employee's place of employment.
The simple rule of thumb when employing teens this summer is arm yourself with awareness of the law and knowledge of your young employees’ ages. Understanding your basic obligations under state and federal child labor laws can help you and your company avoid getting severely burned by the summer heat. Contact Jon Stender at Ross, Brittain & Schonberg if you have questions regarding employing teens during the summer or any other questions relating to child labor law.