Although there are federal laws that impact employees who are minors, most requirements and restrictions come from state laws, and each state has its own set of regulations that employers must follow when hiring minors, says Holly Dangler, human resources service manager at Sequent.
“Many employers are eager to hire minors to fill part-time and seasonal jobs because of their enthusiasm, energy and motivation,” says Dangler. “However, while there are many advantages to hiring minor employees, these advantages also come with challenges.”
Smart Business spoke with Dangler about what employers need to be aware of when hiring minors.
Before a minor employee begins work, what does an employer need to do to prepare?
There are several things an employer must do to prepare for the employment of a minor employee. First, be aware of what minors can and cannot do.
Ohio law specifically prohibits minors from performing certain job functions, and there are additional prohibited job functions for minors under the age of 16. Employers should verify the job for which the minor is being hired to ensure he or she is permitted to perform the job functions.
Those between the ages of 14 and 17 must also present a valid work permit prior to the start date. Work permits are usually obtained from the minor employee’s school. A work permit may not be required for minors 16 and 17 years of age if they are employed during summer vacation months; however, a signed statement consenting to the proposed employment is required from the minor’s parent or guardian.
The employer must also display, in a conspicuous location at the job site and frequented by minors, the Minor Labor Laws poster and a complete listing of all minor employees. The listing should contain, at minimum, a current list of minor employees’ names, ages, dates of birth and occupations.
Finally, minor employees must complete a minor wage agreement with the employer that confirms the rate of pay he or she will be paid, and the employee must provide proof of age in the form of a birth certificate, baptismal record or work permit.
Are there restrictions on the hours in which a minor employee may work?
Yes. Ohio law restricts the hours when minor employees may work. Those hours depend on the age of the employees, as there are different restrictions for those ages 14 and 15 and those ages 16 and 17.
Minors aged 14 or 15 are not permitted to work during school hours, more than 18 hours a week while school is in session or more than 40 hours a week when school is not in session. However, those prohibitions do not apply if employment is incidental to bona fide programs of vocational cooperative training, work-study, or other work-oriented programs with the purpose of educating students, and the program meets standards established by the State Board of Education.
Those aged 14 or 15 are prohibited from working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. while school is in session. When school is not in session or during any school holiday that is five school days or more, they may work until 9 p.m.
Minors 16 or 17 years of age who are required to attend school are not permitted to work before 7 a.m. on any day that school is in session; however, the minor may start after 6 a.m. if he or she did not work after 8 p.m. the previous night. Those in this age group are also not permitted to work after 11 p.m. on any night preceding a day that school is in session. There are no limitations to the start and end times, nor are there any limitations in the number of hours per day or per week, when school is not in session.
What break periods are required under the law?
Although break periods are not required by Ohio law for most employees, there are requirements for minor employees. Minors working five consecutive hours or more must be granted an uninterrupted rest period of at least 30 minutes. However, the rest period does not need to be included in the computation of the number of hours worked by the minor.
What are the state requirements for compensation and record retention for a minor?
First, wages cannot be reduced for any minor without giving that person 24 hours written notice of the reduction. Employers also may not retain or withhold wages because of presumed negligence, failure to comply with rules, breakage of machinery, or alleged incompetence to produce any standard of merit. Payment for any and all wages must be received by the minor by the next regularly scheduled pay period.
For record retention, the worksite employer must maintain for at least two years time records showing the actual start and end time, and rest periods. Failure to comply with any of the requirements outlined by the State of Ohio could cost your organization up to $1,950 per incident.
Employing minor employees can provide many advantages to your organization. However, these advantages come with several responsibilities, and employers need to make sure that they are following the law.
For Kentucky businesses interested in learning more about these laws, contact Dangler at the e-mail address below.
Holly Dangler is a human resources service manager at Sequent. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 456-362