Before you add a teenager to your payroll for summer or after-school work, do your homework first. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets regulations on jobs for teens and children on payroll.
FLSA rules for hiring teens
FLSA regulations determine when teens can work and what jobs they can do. FLSA rules divide up the jobs and hours by age group.
Teens ages 14 and 15
FLSA rules mandate that the minimum age is 14 for non-agricultural work.
Teens between the ages of 14 and 15 can work the following amounts of time:
- 3 hours on a school day, including Fridays
- 18 hours in a school week
- 8 hours on a non-school day
- 40 hours in a non-school week
During the school year, teens ages 14 and 15 can work anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Summer jobs for teens are slightly different. Between June 1 and Labor Day, teens can work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Teens who are 14 or 15 cannot do jobs labeled as hazardous. Hazardous jobs include driving a motor vehicle, excavations, and demolition. You can view a full list of hazardous jobs on the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) website.
There is another list of jobs 14- and 15-year-old teens cannot do. These prohibited jobs include operating many types of power-driven equipment, construction, cooking, and warehouse work. You can look at a detailed list of prohibited jobs on the DOL website.
Teens ages 16 and 17
There are fewer FLSA regulations on teens ages 16 and 17.
Teens who are 16 or 17 can work at any time. They are not limited to a certain number of hours in a day or week. This is the same for both school-year and summer jobs.
If you hire a 16- or 17-year-old teen, they can not do hazardous jobs.
Teens age 18 and older
Teens age 18 and older are free from FLSA rules on child labor. They can work at any time and can do any job, including hazardous jobs.
Youth minimum wage
The FLSA permits a youth minimum wage. The youth minimum wage is a reduced minimum wage.
Currently, the federal youth minimum wage is $4.25 per hour. You can only pay the youth minimum wage to employees under 20 years of age during the first 90 days of employment. After 90 days, you must pay at least minimum wage to your teen employees.
Learn more about hiring teens
The DOL provides many resources for learning about FLSA regulations for hiring teens.
The DOL provides an FLSA Child Labor Rules Advisor. The advisor will ask you questions about your business and direct you to the rules that apply to you. If you are a parent hiring your child, you can select the “parent” option to learn about what FLSA rules apply to you.
The DOL also has fact sheets about specific industries. Examples include cooking, restaurants, grocery stores, and lifeguards. You can look at the fact sheets to learn about the specific FLSA rules for your business.
If you are looking for an easy way to pay the teens on your small business payroll, why not try Patriot Software’s online payroll software? You get a free trial, and we offer free setup and support!
This article was originally published on 12/2/2014