If you have a child with a summer job, it is essential to know that they have rights regarding wages and hours, just like adult workers. If their employer violates these rights, you should know what you can do to protect your child, their paychecks and their job.
Labor laws that protect children in the summer
During the summer, state and federal laws restrict the time children under 18 can work. In New York, child labor rules state that minors cannot work:
- More than 8 hours per day
- More than 6 days per week
- More than 48 hours per week (for 16- and 17-year-olds)
- More than 40 hours per week (for 14- and 15-year-olds)
Further, there are restrictions on night work. If your child is 14 or 15, the law prohibits them from working between 9 pm and 7 am. If your child is 16 or 17, those restricted hours are between midnight and 6 am.
Note that these rules are different when school is in session. Minors cannot work during school hours, and if they want to work between 10 pm and midnight the night before a school day, they need written permission from their parents and a certificate showing satisfactory academic standing.
There are also exceptions for specific occupations, like farming, modeling and babysitting.
When employers violate child labor laws
Recently, popular sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s faced penalties for child labor law violations. According to reports, they had to pay $24,000 in fines for allowing employees aged 14 and 15 to work:
- After 7 pm on school days
- After 9 pm during the summer
- More than three hours per day on school days
Allowing children to work more than the allowable hours is just one type of violation employers in New York might commit. Failure to make and post schedules for minors and retain working papers for minor employees can also trigger penalties.
Protecting your child
Children work for many reasons, from wanting real-world experiences and responsibilities to needing the money. No matter why your child might be working this summer, you should be able to feel that your child is safe and in legal compliance.
If you worry your child’s employer is violating their rights, you can talk to an attorney about taking legal action and correcting misconduct.