By Steve Kania
Many of your clients may employ family members in their small businesses. This may include sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, etc., under the age of 18. Or maybe it’s the child of a family friend and they’re going to help around the office or the warehouse. Whatever the case, children are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act and you should remind your clients of these laws. It is important to note that minimum age requirements do not apply to minors working for their parents or guardian.
Minors under 14 are generally not allowed to work unless it’s for their parents or it’s on a family farm. If they are 14 or 15 and school is in session, they should not be working more than three hours per day or more than18 hour per week. Minors can also only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. while school is in session. If school is out, they can work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but not more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. This is extended between June 1 and Labor Day.
Minors 16 and 17 are not restricted in the number of hours they may work, however they cannot work in jobs declared as hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. A list of these jobs can be found on the US Department of Labor site.
It’s important you advise your clients on the seriousness of these laws, as the fines can be stiff. Employers face significant fines for each violation of child labor laws.
Some states are more restrictive than others, so be sure to research if there are additional restrictions as each state has its own laws relating to the employment of minors. If state law and the FLSA overlap, the law which is more protective of the minor applies.
A final note, you will want to remind clients that they need to post the FLSA poster and any applicable state child labor poster at the workplace.