Thinking about hiring a couple of high school kids to fill some part-time positions for you? For some businesses that makes sense; some positions that need to be filled carry a relatively low level of responsibility and autonomy. These positions also only need to be filled part time and might even warrant slightly lower wages than some of your more technical positions. This position might be a hostess or a busser at a restaurant or even someone who hands out fliers for an income tax operation that is about to see an influx of business. A minor might make sense for your open position. If so, you must be aware of some of the child labor laws that we are subject to here in Arizona.
Child labor represents one of the few areas of employment regulation that is subject to oversight from both the federal government and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (they do a lot of the work here in Arizona that OSHA does from a federal standpoint in other states). The Industrial Commission states that businesses are subject to two separate sets of laws. If these laws ever conflict, you must follow the stricter law. If one entity has a law or restriction pertinent to a particular topic but the other does not, then you must follow the guidelines of the agency that has the law. Basically it goes like this: if the Fed says that minors cannot work before 7:00 am (which they do for minors under 16) and the state says they cannot work before 6:00 am (which Arizona does), then you must follow the federal law because it is stricter than the state law. If the Fed didn’t restrict the hours that minors can work, but the state did, then you would be bound to follow the state law and would not be able to legally defend yourself by citing a lack of federal guidelines.
Facts You Need to Know
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day—if they are enrolled in school—while school is in session, or more than 8 hours per day on a non-school day. If they are enrolled in school, they cannot work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm if they have school the next day. If they do not have school the next day, they are not permitted to work after 11:00 pm. Youth who are not enrolled in school cannot work before 6:00 am or after 11:00 pm.
- No youth under 16 can ever work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
- Generally positions that require driving are not suitable for minors by law. The exception is that 16- and 17-year-olds can drive up to 2 hours per day or 25% of their shift (whichever is shorter), but cannot drive large vehicles.
- Youth cannot operate heavy machinery. There are a couple of exemptions, but it is advisable to think about your liability before ever considering actually doing this. This means that in most cases, manufacturing and construction position are not suitable for minors. Other restrictions speak specifically to youth not being allowed to work in positions such as roofing and demolition.
- Parental permission is not needed in order to employ youth. Meanwhile parental permission, even in writing, does not allow you operate outside of regulations.
- You must verify the age of youth who are applying for a position with you. It is not considered age discrimination to ask youth their age. Age discrimination applies to 40- to 70-year-old applicants.
- You can, and will, be fined for violations of these labor laws that are brought to the attention of either regulating body. The state dictates that the maximum financial penalty that can be assessed is $1,000.00 per infraction. You can of course contest a fine as long as you do it within 20 days of issuance.
There are Some Loopholes
- If the minor is involved in or has completed a career education or vocational/technical training program recognized by the Department of Education pursuant to Title 15, Chapter 7, Article 5, the minor is exempt to some of the restrictions. Construction and manufacturing-based employers may be able to use this parameter when employing minors.
- You may also be able to work around regulation if the minor is in an apprenticeship program approved by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. This might allow youth to work on a construction site in a limited capacity, and at the very least it helps to limit your liability.
Did that sound like a lot of rules? Compared to the actual set of regulations that is just the tip of the iceberg.
For more Federal guidelines click here to review more laws to make sure you are in compliance.
To brush up on Arizona’s additions, you can visit the Industrial Commission’s website.
If you would rather skip the headaches associated with all of these rules, contact Labor Systems Job Center and we will work with you to send over the right workers who will solve your staffing problems on a part-time or full-time basis. We can meet your needs throughout Arizona from Tucson to Kingman.