The representative association for the people most likely to offer summer jobs to the young issued a short checklist, to parents and employers to help keep things legal.
The National Federation of Independent Business, with more than 5,000 members in Montana, recommended employers and parents take stock of the following:
* The rules apply to them. Just because they’re in school doesn’t mean employers can take advantage of them. Minors are entitled to the same minimum wage, overtime, and safety and health protections as adults. When it comes to work, the federal wage and hour law, officially known as the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, applies to everyone, regardless of age. Other federal and state workplace laws apply to them, too.
* Students 13 and younger have limited options when it comes to summer jobs. Federal law says they’re too young for most non-farming jobs, such as working in a store or restaurant, but there are still jobs they can do. They’re allowed to babysit and perform minor chores around a private home, and if you own a business, they’re allowed to work for you.
* If they’re 14 or 15, their prospects are better. Students in this age bracket are allowed to perform jobs such as bagging groceries, waiting tables and working in an office, but they can’t use power-driven machinery, such as lawn mowers, lawn trimmers, and weed cutters. They also aren’t allowed to work more than 40 hours a week, or 8 hours in one day.
* If they’re 16 or 17, they’re allowed to work up a sweat and earn serious money. There’s no limit to the number of hours 16- and 17-year-olds can work, and they’re allowed to work basically any job that isn’t declared hazardous, provided all other FLSA and state labor requirements are met.
* If they’re 18 or older, legally, they’re adults. It doesn’t matter that they’re still in school. In the eyes of the law, they’re grown up, and that means they can do pretty much any job for which they’re qualified.
More information can be found on this video by Beth Milito, senior counsel at NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. Follow NFIB/Montana on Twitter at @NFIB_MT and on our webpage at www.nfib.com/montana.