Last Modified: Monday, April 07, 2014 11:12 AM
What’s the legal age for teenagers to get jobs?
Under both federal and state law, minors can generally begin working at age 14.
Louisiana law does allow children as young as 12 to work, but they must be employed in a business wholly or partly owned by a parent or guardian; work under the direct supervision of that parent or guardian; and have a state employment certificate, which is issued by the school system and is a requirement for all minors.
Additionally, state law exempts agricultural work and “domestic services in private homes” from Louisiana child labor provisions.
State law says minors younger that 16 can only work after school and on non-school days. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act limits the work to three hours a day on school days or 18 hours a week during school weeks, but it allows minors to work six consecutive days.
Federal law says 14- and 15-year-olds enrolled in certain work experience programs may work up to 23 hours during a school week.
The FLSA allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work eight hours on non-school days and up to 40 hours during non-school weeks. But the work hours must fall between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. — 7 a.m.-9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.
Federal law places no restrictions on the number of hours that 16- and 17-year-olds may work. But state law says 16-year-olds who haven’t graduated from high school may not work between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a day before a school day — though it allows local youth curfews to further limit the period.
Under state law, 17-year-olds who have yet to graduate from high school can’t work between midnight and 5 a.m. on a day before a school day — and, again, local curfews apply.
The FLSA doesn’t contain meal or break provisions for youth workers, but Louisiana law says minors must be given a 30-minute meal break after five hours of work.
Federal law permits employers to pay workers under 20 a youth minimum wage of $4.25 an hour for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of the workers’ employment. Afterward, the workers are eligible for the full minimum wage of $7.25.
Federal and state child labor laws prohibit minors from working in hazardous jobs, including mining, manufacturing, trenching, logging, power-driven woodworking, roofing, demolition and meat packing.
Additionally, state law bars minors under 16 from working in certain milieux, including “in, or about, or in connection with a poolroom or billiard room” and “in the distribution or delivery of goods or messages for any person engaged in the business of transmitting or delivering of goods or messages.”
Online: www.laworks.net/Downloads/WFD/EmploymentOfMinors.pdf; www.youthrules.dol.gov.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.