Posted By:

Cheryl Miles on May 29, 2014

What Business Owners Need to Know About Summer Youth Employment

Summer is a time when many young people look for seasonal jobs while they’re out of school. With so many minors flooding the workplace, it’s important for business owners to be familiar with the legalities affecting summer youth employment. Here are three main areas that you should be aware of when hiring anyone under the age of 18 for the summer.


Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA was created in 1938 to regulate the hours that employees work, ensure adequate pay and prevent children from working in dangerous environments. Minors between the ages of 14 and 15 are not allowed to work any more than 40 hours when school is not in session and not in an environment that could jeopardize their health. Workers aged 16 or 17 are allowed to work unlimited hours during this time as long as it’s not under hazardous conditions.

In terms of occupations that are considered hazardous, this fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor provides all the information you should need. Some examples of dangerous industries include working in mining, construction and public utilities. There are also a lot of regulations for the restaurant industry because of contact with food processors, sharp knives, meat coolers, etc.

If you’re in an industry with dangerous job duties, there will probably be considerable limitations on the tasks that minors can perform. When this is the case, you will want to fully familiarize yourself with which duties are acceptable and which are not. Otherwise, if there are little to no dangers, this shouldn’t affect what you can ask of your youth employees.


Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees

You are required to pay tipped employees $2.13 an hour in direct wages as long as this combined with the money earned from tips equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The exception is when this combination doesn’t reach at least $7.25. In this case, you are responsible for making up the difference, which would be a maximum of $5.12. There are some subtle differences between states, and the wage and hour division tables will show you the specifics based on your state’s laws.


FLSA Overtime

If youth employees work an excess of 40 hours in a week, they must be paid at least one and one-half times their regular pay. This is based on a regular seven day workweek of 24 hours per day for a total of 168 hours.  However, it doesn’t have to coincide with a calendar week and can begin and end whenever you choose. You can also create different workweeks for individual employees or groups of employees.

Summer youth employment is something that can benefit both your business and younger workers. It’s just important to ensure that you comply with the FLSA and adhere to all relevant legalities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “violators of the youth employment provisions may be subject to a civil money penalty of up to $11,000 for each minor employed in violation.” By maintaining a safe workplace, you can keep operations running smoothly and give your business a positive reputation.

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