In today’s environment, the spotlight on minor workers has become much sharper. Contracting agencies which employ teens to work on the job site have to be very careful to obey all of the necessary laws, rules and regulations. As these vary from state to state, the process can become tricky and complicated. It is, however, vital to understand all of the laws that apply to you, so you can avoid costly fines that can be disastrous to your business. Here is an overview of some of the federal child labor laws that may apply to the contracting industry.
Construction Industries Covered
Construction industries covered under federal child labor provisions are those whose gross annual volume is at least $500,000, pre-tax. Even those that are not specifically covered are subject to certain provisions of the law. These include minimum wage, overtime and child labor restrictions.
While the provisions of who is and who is not covered seem complicated, the general intent is that Johnny from next door cutting your grass for $20 isn’t subject to child labor laws, nor is Sally coming over to babysit. A teen on your construction job site, however, is likely subject to child labor provisions.
State vs. Federal
Many states have laws that are more stringent than the federal ones. For example, federal law does not require working permits for underage workers, but many states do have such a requirement. There are no limits to the number of daily hours that minors can be on the job, though again, many states have such limitations. Finally, employees whose services are rendered in a foreign country are not covered by U.S. labor laws.
Likewise, child actors, those engaged in newspaper delivery and children who are employed by their parents in occupations that are not considered hazardous such as home workers who make wreaths are all not subject to federal labor laws.
As of February 2013, the minimum age for a youth worker is 16. Those under 20 years of age have a federal minimum wage of $4.25 an hour, or $2.13 an hour if they are tipped. Minors may not work during school hours, before 7 am or after 7 pm (except between June 1 and Labor Day, when the evening hours are extended to 9 pm).
Minors may work no more than 3 hours per day on a school day and 8 hours on a weekend or day off school. Maximum hours during the school year are 18 per week; in the summer or during vacation breaks, 40 hours a week are permitted.
Other laws regarding teen workers are complex and detailed; the FLSA provides a complete breakdown of these rules, should you need to further educate yourself on the standards. As with any regulated set of standards for the workplace, it is always a good idea to be properly insured against the risk of oversights or mishaps.