Are 14-and 15-year olds legally allowed to work in California? The short answer is yes. However, there are strict federal regulations governing their hours and the types of jobs they are allowed to do. If you are a parent of a teen who wishes to make a few buck of his or her own money, you should be aware of the laws guiding minor employment. If you feel your child’s rights are being violated, you may wish to seek counsel from an experienced labor attorney.
Young teens aged 14 or 15 must follow some strict guidelines. They may not work:
- During school hours, unless as part of a work-study program;
- Between the hours of 7pm and 7am except during certain times of the year;
- More than three hours on school days;
- More than eight hours on non-school days;
- More than 18 hours on a school week;
- More than 40 hours on a non-school week.
There are a few exceptions to these rules:
- When the teen has already graduated from high school;
- When the teen has been excused from compulsory school attendance;
- When the teen is responsible for supporting a child and school requirements have been waived;
- When the teen is prohibited from attending school by a state or federal court;
- When the teen has been expelled from a local school permanently.
Besides hourly restrictions, federal law prohibits teens aged 14 or 15 from working in certain industries, including:
- Occupations deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Labor;
- Work related to boiler rooms or engine rooms;
- Work repairing, or working on power-driven machinery such as lawnmowers, food slicers, etc.
- Working from window sills to wash windows outside;
- Any work requiring ladders or scaffolds;
- Work related to processing meat;
- Loading/unloading property to or from railroad cars, conveyors or motor vehicles;
- Warehousing and storage;
- Construction work;
- Public messenger work.
With few exceptions, minors are required to have a work permit in order to hold a job in California. That includes having a certificate of age. These documents are designed to protect minors from unsafe working conditions, and may not be waived by any government entities. They state the specific address of employment, along with clear working hour rules. Permits require the signatures of the minor’s parents, as well as the employment supervisor. School officials or the Labor Commissioner may deny or cancel permits at any time if it is deemed in the best interest of the minor.
Employment of Minors
Special care must be taken when employing minors, due to the stringent restrictions that have been spelled out. These regulations are designed to create a safe, productive working experience for both the minor employee and the employer. When an employer has trouble sticking to the letter of the law, serious problems may arise. If you need help understanding labor laws for minors, or feel those laws are not being upheld and are putting your child in jeopardy, the experienced team at HKM can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.