June 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm #7508
The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association (ACCA) published an article today on the US state and federal laws that employers need to be aware of when hiring minors (under the age of 21 in the USA).
The article emphasised the fact that as school has finished for the year in the USA, minors will be looking for work and that employers need to be aware of child labour laws. The article highlighted the following laws:
- Workers under the age of 18 can’t work in jobs that are defined as hazardous (e.g. operating heavy machinery, driving, roofing, and so on).
- Employees must be at least 14 years old, unless they are children of the owners of the business.
- Depending on the age, certain occupations are prohibited (e.g. teens between the ages of 14 and 15 are limited primarily to performing office and clerical work).
- Workers under 16 may not work in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week, may not work overtime and cannot work past 9pm during the summer months. Minors aged 16-17 may not work more than 8 hours per day or a 48 hour work week.
- Minors are generally entitled to the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour at the Federal level and many states have their own higher minimum wage.
- Permissible withholdings from minors’ paychecks vary widely.
- Some states require work permits for minors.
The article also emphasised to employers to caution their managers to be vigilant of harassment and discrimination policies in the workplace, as teen employees are generally more subjected to harassment in the workplace as they are seen as more vulnerable.
In comparison, Australia’s laws regarding underage workers are similar but do have their differences.
For example, the ACT, NSW, NT, TAS and SA don’t have age restrictions on when an employee can start work, however there are certain restrictions on the kind of work they can do. While QLD, VIC, and WA do have age restrictions on when an employee can start work and the kind of work that they can do.
Australia’s workplace laws also state that underage workers are entitled to the minimum wage, which varies by award or agreement. Employers are not allowed to deduct from an underage worker’s wages unless required by law or the employee has agreed to it in writing and it is principally for their benefit.
If underage workers feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against they the option of contacting many workplace bodies and institutions such as the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Fair Work Commission, a state equal opportunity or anti-discrimination body, and a union (if they are a member).
ACCA’s article can be read in full here.
What are your thoughts on the workplace laws regarding underage or teen employees? Has hiring a teen employee benefited your business? Feel free to login and comment below.
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