Putting Your Teenager to Work

Nov 20, 2017 | Employing a Nanny

putting your teen to workDid you know that in New York, children can start working at the age of 14? With the school holiday break coming up, if you have a teenager who’d like to earn some extra money (or in the summertime as well), let’s take a look at New York’s child labor laws.

Work Permit
New York requires that employers obtain a work permit for minors.

Minors must be paid at least the state minimum wage.

Employers must make a schedule for all minors and post it where workers can see it. The schedule shows the hours minors start and end work and time allotted for meals.

Hours of Work
Minors age 16 or 17 have the following restrictions on the hours they may work:

  • May not work during school hours
  • Can work no more than 4 hours on school nights
  • Can work no more than 8 hours on non-school nights
  • Can work no more than 6 days a week
  • Can work no more than 28 hours a week when school is in session
  • Can work no more than 48 hours a week when school is not in session
  • Can only work between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when school is in session and between 6 a.m. and 12 midnight when school is not in session

Certain exceptions may apply to these restrictions.

Minors age 14 and 15 who are covered by the FLSA (almost all of them):

  • May not work during school hours
  • Can work no more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week when school is not in session
  • Can work no more than 3 hours in a day or 18 hours in a week when school is in session
  • Can work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year. However, between June 1 and Labor Day, they may work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Prohibited Work for All Minors
Minors may not be employed in any of the following types of establishments or positions:

  • In construction, including painting or cleaning a building from an elevated surface
  • Where they are exposed to silica or other harmful dust
  • In connection with a quarry
  • Packing paints, dry colors, or red or white leads
  • Using any dangerous or poisonous acids
  • Taking care of having custody of prisoners or inmates
  • Working in or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives
  • Driving a motor vehicle or riding along the outside of a vehicle, with limited exceptions
  • Coal or other mining
  • Logging and sawmill operations, forest fire fighting and forest fire prevention operations, and timber tract and forestry service occupations
  • Work involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations
  • Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
  • *Slaughtering or meat packing, processing, or rendering
  • Manufacturing brick, tile, or similar products
  • *Operating most heavy machinery and power tools
  • *Roofing operations and work on or about a roof
  • *Excavating operations

*In these occupations, a minor who is 16 or 17 may be employed as an apprentice or student learner.

An apprentice is defined as someone who is employed in a recognized apprenticeable trade; whose work is incidental to training; whose work is intermittent, short, and under close journeyman supervision; and whose work is registered or executed under a written agreement about work standards.

student learner is defined as someone who is enrolled in an authorized cooperative vocational training program with a written agreement; whose work is incidental to training; whose work is intermittent, short, and under close supervision; who receives safety instructions from a school and employer; and who follows a schedule of organized and progressive work.

Allowed Work for Minors Age 14 or 15

  • Retail occupations
  • Office or clerical work
  • Intellectual or creative work, such as computer programming, teaching, tutoring, singing, acting, or playing an instrument
  • Errands or delivery work by foot, bicycle, or public transportation
  • Clean-up and yard work that does not including using power-driven mowers, cutters, trimmers, edgers, or similar equipment.
  • Work involving cars or trucks, such as dispensing gasoline or oil or washing or hand polishing
  • Certain kitchen and food service work, including reheating food, washing dishes, cleaning equipment, and limited cooking
  • Cleaning vegetables and fruits, wrapping, sealing, and labeling, weighing, pricing, and stocking items when performed outside a freezer or meat cooler
  • Loading or unloading objects for use at a worksite, including rakes, handheld clippers, and shovels
  • Certain tasks in sawmills and woodshops if the minor meets specific requirements
  • 15 year olds can work as a lifeguard if they meet specific requirements

If an occupation is not specifically listed as permitted, then it is prohibited.

Prohibited Work for Minors Age 14 or 15
State and federal law also lists activities that are specifically prohibited for minors who are 14 or 15 years old. Minors may not work in the following establishments or positions, even if they appear to be included in the Allowed Work list above.

  • Most factory work
  • Any institution in the Department of Mental Health
  • As a rope or wire walker or gymnast, unless they have certain safety devices or protective equipment
  • Dangerous farm jobs
  • Peddling, drug trafficking, or any practice, exhibition, or place dangerous to a minor’s life, limb, or morals
  • Baking and cooking, with some exceptions
  • Machinery
  • Manufacturing or processing
  • Warehousing or storage
  • Other prohibited occupations as noted on the Federal Child Labor Laws page

Minors Under 14
Minors under 14 are not allowed to work, with limited exceptions, such as acting or performing, delivering newspapers, or working in agriculture.

Additionally, the City of Albany has a Youth and Workforce Services program for minors looking to help out in the community.

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