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The ins and outs of employing minors

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in Compensation and Benefits,Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources

Q. Now that summer is here, we have received applications from students under the age of 18 seeking seasonal employment with our company. Are there any requirements or restrictions that we need to be aware of before we hire a minor?

Yes. You probably are covered by both state and federal child labor laws. Here are some tips:

You need to request a copy of the minor’s Georgia Employment Certificate. The minor can obtain the certificate from his or her school or from the county school superintendent’s office. A minor temporarily living in Georgia must obtain a work permit from an authorized Georgia Issuing Officer, such as the local board of education in the community where the minor temporarily resides.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age are not subject to restrictions on the number of hours they can work in a day or on the specific hours of work. Minors under the age of 16 can work no more than four hours on a school day. If your company is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a minor can work no more than three hours on a school day. On a non-school day, a minor may work up to eight hours. Under the FLSA, minors can work no more than 18 hours during a school week.

When school is not in session, minors can work no more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. Under Georgia law, the minor can work between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Under the FLSA, working hours must be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Labor Day to June 1. From June 1 through Labor Day, the minor may work until 9 p.m.

Under Georgia law, you must pay minors the state minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. Under the FLSA, you must pay minors the federal minimum wage rate of $5.85 per hour until July 24, 2008, at which time you must pay minors a rate of $6.55 per hour. The federal minimum wage rate increases to $7.25 on July 24, 2009.

An exception to the federal minimum wage law applies to full-time students employed in retail or service stores, agriculture, or colleges and universities. If you are eligible for this exception, you must obtain a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor that will allow you to pay the student no less than 85% of the existing minimum wage. Also, under the federal youth minimum wage laws, you may pay an employee under 20 years of age a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for a period of 90 consecutive calendar days (not work days) that begins on the first day of employment. After the 90-day period, you must pay the minor according to minimum wage standards.

Before hiring a minor, check with both the Georgia Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor to determine whether additional restrictions apply to hiring minors in your particular industry. For example, some minors may be prohibited from working in certain hazardous environments or around dangerous equipment.

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