Employment of Minors

by:  Mark Ward
Summer is fast approaching and many businesses hire minors for summer work.  I thought it may be helpful to discuss a couple of items we are often asked about by clients who hire minors.   Every state has different laws but for the purposes of this article I’ll focus on the Employment of Minors in Utah.
First, before hiring any minor, verify that the minor will never be asked to perform a job function that is listed as a hazardous occupation.  To view a complete list of hazardous occupations go to http://www.laborcommission.utah.gov/divisions/AntidiscriminationAndLabor/17hazardousoccupations.html).  Also you need to be aware of hour restrictions, both Federal and State restriction that apply to anyone under the age of 16.  Here is an example of hour restrictions given by the Labor Commission:
“There are many areas of agreement between State and Federal child labor laws. However, there are some Federal standards that are stricter than Utah law and if the Federal law applies the employer must comply with the stricter requirement. For example, under Federal law 14 and 15 year old minors may not work more than three hours on a school day and may not work past 7:00 p.m. from Labor Day to June 1 and past 9:00 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day. Under Utah state law, minors under the age of 16 may work four hours on a school day, until 9:30 p.m. year around and after 9:30 p.m. if the next day is not a school day. In this example, employers must comply with the Federal standards. Please visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to compare standards at www.dol.gov.”
I am often asked if employers are required to give breaks.  Utah law does require employers provide breaks and meal periods for minors.  “Minors under the age of 18 are entitled to a meal period of at least 30 minutes not later than five hours from the beginning of their shift. A rest break is required for minors of at least 10 minutes for every three hour period or part thereof that is worked” (Labor Commission).  Breaks and meal periods rules do not apply to adult workers.

For additional information about employing minors visit www.dol.govand www.laborcommission.utah.gov.   Make sure to make this a great experience for minor workers.  Give them the proper training and resources to be successful.  Utah is known for our great workforce.  Let’s start them off on the right path.  Another opportunity that we as employers have to help teach/train minors is through our local high school and college internship programs.  I am a beneficiary of an incredible high school internship opportunity and highly recommend your business considers providing an internship for a student.

Thank you for giving Payroll Experts the opportunity to serve you.  If there is ever anyway we can better serve you please let us know.  We love working with you, value our friendships and appreciate watching your amazing businesses grow and prosper.


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