Indiana’s child labor regulations generally follow federal law but have some interesting twists that can trip up employers.
Minors are prohibited from working in any hazardous occupation designated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/index.htm). Children ages 14 and older must obtain a work permit signed by their parent or guardian and approved by their school.
Employers hiring minors must insist on verifiable proof of age. You may not use the fact that a minor misrepresented his or her age as a defense.
Caution: The employee’s age is particularly important in the event of a workplace injury or death. If you employ a young person in violation of the state or federal child , all workers’ compensation payments are doubled. The additional money comes out of your pocket, not the workers’ comp insurance carrier’s.
Minors ages 14 and 15 may work in nonhazardous occupations during hours when school is not in session and summer vacation. Exception: Minors may work during school hours as part of a bona fide vocational training program.
Youth under age 16 may not work more than six consecutive days or more than 48 hours per week during summer vacation. During the school year, they may work no more than three hours a day or eight hours a week.
When minors under 16 work five consecutive hours, employers must give them a 30-minute unpaid meal break. Any break of less than 30 minutes is considered continuous work time and is compensable.
The Bureau of Child Labor in the Indiana Department of Labor administers the regulations. For more details, go to: www.in.gov/labor/childlabor/index.html.