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What Should HR Consider When Hiring a Minor?

What Should HR Consider When Hiring a Minor?

Many employers enjoy giving young people access to good jobs and opportunities. However, there are some essential employment laws HR must keep in mind when hiring minors.  



Key FLSA Provisions for Minors

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor. The FLSA “establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.” 

FLSA child labor rules vary based on age and task. According to the DOL, children under the age of 14 are only allowed to work the following jobs:

  • Newspaper delivery
  • Babysitting on a casual basis
  • Working as an actor or performer 
  • Working as a homeworker making evergreen wreaths 
  • Working for a business entirely owned by the child’s parents, unless the child is performing an “off-limits” job. 

The FLSA also provides special provisions for children between the ages of 14 and 15. They can only work outside of school hours and may not work: 

  • More than 3 hours on any school day
  • More than 18 hours per week when school is in session
  • More than 8 hours per day when school is not in session
  • More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session
  • Before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any day, except from June 1 through Labor Day (hours are extended to 9:00 p.m.) 

Children between 14 and 15 years old are allowed to work the following jobs: 

  • Retail 
  • Tutoring, teaching, etc. 
  • Errands or delivery work that does not require driving a vehicle other than a bicycle
  • Clean-up and yard work that doesn’t include using machinery 
  • Some kitchen and food service work
  • And more!

Children between 16 or 17 years old can be employed for unlimited hours in any occupation that the Secretary of Labor has not declared hazardous. 


What Occupations are Off-Limit to Minors?

The DOL also provides a list of 17 “Dangerous jobs that are off-limits” for kids under 18. The list includes: 

  • Roofing
  • Driving
  • Working with explosives 
  • Working with Metal
  • Power-driven bakery machines 
  • Compactors and Balers
  • Meat processing and slicing 
  • Brick and tile

It’s also important for HR to be aware of state child labor laws. When state law is more stringent than federal law, state law applies. 


How Much are Minors Paid?

Minors must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, employers must abide by state requirements for minimum wage if state law requires a higher wage rate. 

Employees under the age of 20 can be paid $4.25 per hour during their first 90 calendar days of work only if the youth’s employment does not displace other workers. This is called “the youth minimum wage”. Minors in non-exempt roles are eligible for overtime pay as outlined by the FLSA. 


How Should Employers Prepare to Hire a Minor?

To prepare for hiring a minor, HR should do the following: 

  • Check individual state requirements regarding work permits or certificates. 
  • Think about their industry and its status as “dangerous” for kids under 18.
  • Request age certificates or proof of age from minors and keep them on file throughout employment (as mandated by many states laws). 


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up to date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • Resource Library—essential guides covering a comprehensive list of HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
  • Community—the HR Party of One Community forum, a place devoted to HR professionals to ask questions, learn more, and help others



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