Summer is here. It is the time for graduations, vacations and summer jobs for teens who want to earn money and get some real world experience.
However, the excitement that comes with the possibility of a summer job should not trump safety at work. According to official government statistics, 34 teens under the age of 18 died of work-related injuries in 2008. Additionally, about 146,000 youths sustain work-related injuries and illnesses every year.
To ensure the safety of young workers, the Federal government places restrictions on the types of jobs that teens can have, as well as the hours when those under 16 can work.
Jobs Available To 13 Year-Olds and Younger
The jobs available to adolescents in this group are limited. They can work in business or on farms solely owned by their parents as long as they do not have to do any hazardous jobs, such as roofing, demolition, meatpacking and processing, among others.
Kids under 13 can also do these jobs:
- Newspaper delivery
Starting at Age 14
As teens get older, more jobs are available to them. Such jobs include working in grocery or retail stores, food establishments and gas stations. Starting at this age teens can:
- Work a cash register
- Wash fruits and vegetables
- Perform office and clerical work
- Pump gas, and clean and polish cars
- Do delivery work on foot, on a bicycle or using public transportation
- Work as a library assistant
Nevertheless, teens in this age group and those under 16 cannot work with an open flame, work in freezers, or work in construction. Also, they are not allowed to have any hazardous job prohibited to those under 18.
For 16 Year-Olds and Older
Upon reaching 16 teens can have any job, as long as it is not a hazardous job prohibited to those under 18.
Teens between 14 and 15 are also constrained by the hours they can work.
They can work after 7 a.m. and up to 7 p.m. However, between June 1st and Labor Day they can work until 9 p.m.
Additionally, teens between 14 and 15 years old can work up to 18 hours per week during the school week and a maximum of 40 hours per week during vacation, among other restrictions.
Teens age 16 and older do not have any work schedule limitations.
The Department of Labor provides additional information about the work restrictions applicable to teens. You can also call the Department of Labor's toll free number at 1 (866) 487-9243 (press 1 for English, or 2 for Spanish).
Be sure to check your state labor laws to find out what other restrictions exist for teens in your state.
GobiernoUSA.gov and USA.gov are the U.S. Government's official web portals in Spanish and English, respectively, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
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