Q. My company often receives applications in the summer months from teens looking for temporary jobs. Are there any requirements that I should be aware of before hiring a minor?—J.S.
A. The Fair Labor Standards Act () is the primary federal child labor statute. Under the FLSA, minors must be at least 16 years old to work in most nonfarming jobs and at least 18 years old to work in jobs declared to be “hazardous” by the U.S. Labor Department.
The FLSA does not restrict the number of hours that minors 16 or older may work. Minors ages 14 and 15 may work outside of school hours in nonmanufacturing, non-mining and nonhazardous positions if the following requirements are met:
- They do not work more than three hours in any school day or more than 18 hours in any school week.
- They do not work more than eight hours in any nonschool day or more than 40 hours in any nonschool week.
- They do not begin work before 7 am or after 7 pm (except from June 1 through Labor Day when school is in recess). During the summer, 14- and 15-year-olds may work until 9 pm.
The Labor Department has listed a variety of hazardous jobs that minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from performing. These positions include (among other things) driving motor vehicles, operating bakery or paper product machines, mining and logging, and working in plants that manufacture explosives.