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What Employers Need to Know About Employing Minors

What Employers Need to Know About Employing Minors

As the economy fluctuates and service jobs continue to go unfilled, a growing number of businesses are turning to minors to fill those job openings. While minors bring an unmatched level of energy to work and are often ready to learn, it’s important to know that California has specific rules governing when, how, and where minors can work. As a business owner, knowing these restrictions can help you avoid costly errors that negatively affect your relationships with your employees. The employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry help Southern California employers adhere to all relevant regulations.

If your company employs minors or you’re considering bringing on minor employees, make sure you’re protecting their rights and their focus on their education. Call The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry at 562-216-2944 to set up a consultation now.

Work Permits

In the vast majority of cases, minor students must be enrolled in school full-time before receiving a work permit. The only exception is for 16- and 17-year-old students who have already graduated or have a certificate of proficiency. Students who need a work permit must generally get it from their school. This requires Form B1-1, Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor, and Request for a Work Permit. Part is filled out by the minor, part by their parent or guardian, and part by the employer. The school then issues the Permit to Employ and Work, Form B1-4.

Limited Work Hours

Work hours are highly limited for minors, although there is considerably more leeway when school is not in session. This is important to know as we head into summer. When school is in session, 14- and 15-year-olds can only work up to three hours on school days and eight hours on non-school days. They can work up to 18 hours per week. Those who are 16 or 17 years old can work up to four hours on a school day and up to eight hours on a non-school day. They can work up to 48 hours per week.

When school is not in session, minor employees can work up to eight hours per day. Those 15 or younger are limited to 40 hours per week, and the limit of 48 hours per week stands for 16- and 17-year-olds.

During the school year, 16- and 17-year-old minors can work up until 10:00 P.M. On non-school nights, they can work until 12:30 A.M. Those 15 and younger can’t work later than 7:00 P.M. during the school year or 9:00 P.M. during summer.

Note that even more limited work hours are available for 12- and 13-year-old workers. Additionally, the state heavily limits which roles a 12- or 13-year-old may fill.

Exceptions to Hour Limitations

Extreme circumstances may allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work more. They can participate in a work experience education program and work full-time if they:

  • Are a foster child and have approval from their social worker as part of their goal to become emancipated
  • Need full-time income because they cannot live with their family
  • Have been abandoned by a parent or a parent has died and the family needs their full-time income

How Minors Are Paid

In California, minors must be paid at least minimum wage. They are entitled to overtime pay and the same breaks as adult workers. If a minor has completed high school, they should receive the same pay as adults doing the same quality and quantity of work.

Other Circumstances

Some industries are held to a different set of standards. The Labor Commissioner’s Office issues a separate type of work permit for minors working in the entertainment industry. Agricultural firms are also held to different standards. For example, children under the age of 12 may work on a farm owned or operated by their parent or a person standing in place of their parent.

Protect Your Business With the Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry

Make sure you cover all of your bases when you’re ready to expand your team. We’ll help you check every box, dot every “i,” and cross every “t.” Call us at 562-216-2944 or reach out online to schedule a consultation with our Southern California employment lawyers.

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