Know the Law on Working Teens

Here we talk about Workplace Federal Law and Law in California, U.S.A., for protecting working teens. This just serves as guidance, parents should confirm from your authorities.

By California’s child labor laws, almost all minors under the age of 18 are subject to California’s child labor protections. All minors under 18 years of age employed in the state of California must have a permit to work. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act also requires a certificate of age for working minors. The state Permit to Employ and Work is accepted as the federal certificate of age.

Federal and state occupational restrictions require in most cases minors must be at least 14 years of age to begin working. Minors who are self-employed do not require permits.

Prohibited Jobs

Labor laws are in place to protect teenagers from doing dangerous work. Because of the possible hazards, some jobs in California are restricted based on age.

Prohibited Jobs for 14 or 15-year-old

For example, teens cannot work in a job that involves any of the following:

  • Loading or unloading trucks
  • Using any power driven machinery
  • Cooking or Baking
  • Working in manufacturing
  • Working in construction
  • Working more than 10 feet above ground

For more completed information on prohibited jobs in California, see Child Labor Laws 2000

Prohibited Jobs for 16 or 17-year-old

For example, teens cannot work in a job that involves any of the following:

  • Working alone after 8:00 p.m. in a service business without an adult supervisor onsite
  • Working in jobs that require personal protective equipment
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Operating power driven machines
  • Working more than 10 feet above ground
  • Flagging traffic on public roads

For more completed information on prohibited jobs in California, see Child Labor Laws 2000

Legal Working Hours

The number of hours teens can work varies, based on their age and the time of year.

For 14 or 15-year-old

Non-school time is considered to be from June 1 through Labor Day.

How many hours can work per day?
Up to 3 hours a day on school days (Monday through Thursday)
Up to 8 hours a day (Saturday, Sunday, and non-school days)

How many hours can work per week?
Up to 18 hours in any week during the school days
Up to 40 hours per week during non-school days
Up to 6 days a week

How early can start work?
On both weekdays and weekends teens can start work no earlier than 7:00 a.m.

How late can work?
On weekdays during school days can work no later than 7:00 p.m.
On non-school days cannot work later than 9:00 p.m.

For 16 or 17-year-old

The number of hours teens can work varies, based on school vacations. For 16 and 17 year olds, non-school time is considered to be during all school vacations.

How many hours can work per day?
Up to 4 hours a day on school days (Monday through Thursday)
Up to 8 hours a day on non-school days (Friday through Sunday, school vacations)

How many hours can work per week?
Up to 20 hours in any week during the school day
Up to 48 hours per week during non-school day
Up to 6 days per week

How early can start work?
On weekdays during school days can start work no earlier than 7:00 a.m.
On non-school days can start at 5:00 a.m.

How late can work during the school year?
During school days can work until 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
On Friday and Saturday can work until Midnight

How late can work during non-school times?
Teens can work no later than Midnight.

When does an adult need to be present at the workplace?
Anyone who is age 17 or younger and working past 8:00 p.m. in some type of service job, such as in a restaurant or retail, must have an adult supervisor on site.

Meal and Rest Breaks

Teens are permitted to take meal breaks and rest breaks depending on how many hours they work and their age.

For 14 or 15-year-old
Rest Breaks: If they work a 4 hour shift, they are entitled to a paid rest break at least 10 minutes long. They cannot be required to work more than 2 hours without a 10 minute break.
Meal Breaks: They cannot work more than 4 hours without a 30 minute meal break.

For 16 or 17-year-old
Rest Breaks: If they work a 4 hour shift, they are entitled to a paid rest break at least 10 minutes long. They cannot be required to work more than 3 hours without a 10 minute break.
Meal Breaks: They are entitled to an uninterrupted meal break when working more than 5 hours a day

Minimum Wage

The amount a teenager is paid can depend on both their age and the type of work they are doing. The minimum wage in California increases each year.

For 14 or 15-year-old
Minors may not be paid less than 85% of the adult minimum wage.

For 16-year-old or older
The current minimum wage in California is $8.0 per hour(Jan 2008).

How about tips?
Under state law, tips cannot be counted toward their minimum wage.

Overtime Pay

They must get paid one and a half times their regular rate of pay if they work over 40 hours a week for those who can work up to 48 hours.

One thought on “Know the Law on Working Teens

  1. I don’t comment on many blogs but after reading a few of your posts I thought I would just say thanks and keep up the good work.

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