|State Labor Laws
Every state has laws specifically dealing with youth labor
issues. You should become familiar with the laws and rules
for your state. For example, the federal government does
not require work permits or proof-of-age certificates
for a minor to be employed but many states do require
them for workers of certain ages.
When you work, you are on your way to earning money
and learning valuable lessons that will last your lifetime.
Your employer will expect a lot from you, namely, that
you be on time and do your best. Equally, your employer
should treat you fairly, pay you fairly and provide
a safe workplace.
Remember, even though you are a teenager, as a worker,
you have rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA)
and other laws, if your employer is covered by them.
The Teen Worker's Bill of Rights
RIGHT ONE: It Pays To Work…
And Work Must Pay
I have the right to a fair and full day's pay for a
fair and full day's work…to have my hours of
work properly recorded and to be paid at least the federal
RIGHT TWO: Overtime Work = Overtime
I have the right to overtime pay (at least time and
one half my regular rate of pay) for every hour I work
beyond 40 hours a week. (However, this right arises
under the FLSA, which contains significant exemptions
for some jobs that teen workers may perform.)
RIGHT THREE: Safety Is Part Of The
I have the right to a safe workplace and the right to
file a complaint if the job is unsafe.
I have the right to required safety clothing, equipment
Note: If I am under 18, I'm prohibited
from certain tasks: manufacturing/storing explosives;
driving a motor vehicle or being an outside helper on
one, except under limited circumstances; coal mining;
logging/saw milling; using power driven woodworking,
hoisting, slicing or baking machines; being exposed
to radioactive substances/ionizing radiations; mining;
meat packing; manufacturing brick, tile and related
products; wrecking; demolition; and ship-breaking operations.
Limited exceptions apply for some apprentices and student
Additional restrictions apply to workers 15 and younger.
If I'm under 16, my employer is not permitted to have
me work past 9 PM between June 1 and Labor Day.
RIGHT FOUR: No Harassment Hassles
I have the right to equal employment opportunity without
regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin
or disability in an environment free of sexual and physical
Some states have worker protections which exceed federal
standards. Call your state labor department for more
Work can provide an opportunity to make friends, earn
a paycheck and gain experience. Work should add to your
life experience--not take away from it. Remember, you
owe it to yourself and your colleagues to provide the
basic framework for a rewarding experience.
To have a more rewarding work experience, you might
want to consider:
- asking your employer for a clear explanation of
when you'll be paid, how much, and how often;
- asking your employer to make reasonable adjustments
to accommodate your studies;
- asking your employer questions about safety; and
- treating your coworkers with respect; they should
treat you the same way.
Note: This information is not intended to be a substitute
for legal advice. It should not be relied upon to determine
what steps employees can or should take to identify
and protect their legal rights.