State and federal laws outline the requirements for minors seeking summer employment.

Is It Legal to Hire a 16-Year-Old for Summer Work?

Many companies are looking to hire young workers for summer jobs, and it’s no surprise why. These individuals bring energy, enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective to the workplace. However, before offering a job to a 16-year-old, it’s important to understand the legal restrictions and requirements that come with hiring a minor.

The Job Duties

My company is considering hiring a 16-year-old for the summer. The job duties include lifting objects weighing more than 25 pounds, taking orders, operating a cash register, and driving a company vehicle to deliver goods to our customers. However, is there anything that prevents us from offering this job to a 16-year-old?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Both federal and state laws have restrictions on the type of work that minors can perform for businesses. These laws are in place to protect the safety and well-being of young workers. As a result, there are certain tasks that 16-year-olds are not allowed to do.

Hazardous Work Restrictions

One of the types of “hazardous” work that is prohibited for 16-year-olds is driving a motor vehicle. This means that if driving the company vehicle is a necessary part of the job, you will not be able to offer it to a 16-year-old. However, if this task can be separated from the other duties of the position, you may still be able to offer the modified job to the 16-year-old.

State and Federal Requirements

Both state and federal laws have restrictions on the type of work that minors can perform. The younger the potential employee, the greater the restrictions. For 16- and 17-year-old employees, there are additional protections and restrictions in place.

Examples of “hazardous” work that minors are not allowed to do include using power-driven woodworking machines, circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears, as well as operating forklifts and paper products machines.

Requirements Chart

To help employers understand the restrictions and requirements for hiring minors, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has published a chart that summarizes the rules and regulations based on the age of the minor. This chart also lists exemptions to the requirements. You can find it at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/MinorsSummaryCharts.pdf.

In Conclusion

Before offering a job to a 16-year-old, it’s important to understand the legal restrictions and requirements that come with hiring a minor. This will ensure that you are in compliance with state and federal laws and that the young worker is safe and protected while on the job. For more information on labor laws and regulations, you can contact the Labor Law Helpline at (800) 348-2262 or visit www.hrcalifornia.com. 

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