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Ohio Child Labor Laws: What Ohio Small Businesses Need to Know about Teen Employment Requirements This Summer

Summer is just around the corner and many small businesses are looking forward to the extra help provided by Ohio teenagers.   However, before employers start thinking about hiring those young hands, it is a good idea to brush up on Minor Labor Laws.  The employment of minors is governed by both the Child Labor Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Ohio’s Youth Employment laws.  Both are meant to protect a minor’s health and academic performance.

A “minor” means any person less than 18 years old.  Youth employment laws restrict permissible employment of minors to specific industries and limit working hours.  With few exceptions, a minor cannot be employed in any field that might be hazardous to their health and well-being.  Working hour restrictions depend greatly on whether school is in session.  With limited exceptions, minors may not work when school is in session.  Other restrictions include the following:

  • Minors ages 14-15 may not work more than 3 hours per school day or more than 18 hours per week. Those hours are limited to between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • Minors ages 14-15 may not work more than 8 hours during a day when school is not in session or 40 hours per week. Those hours are limited to 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. except for between June 1 and September 1, or school holidays lasting 5 days or more, when it is extended to 9:00 p.m.
  • Minors, ages 16 or 17, shall not be employed after 11:00 p.m. on any night preceding a day school is in session. They also may not be employed before 7:00 a.m. on any day that school is in session, except they can be employed after 6:00 a.m. if they were not working after eight p.m. the previous night.

In addition, Ohio law generally prohibits an employer from employing a minor without a work permit and a wage agreement.  Employers must also be cognizant of required work breaks; allowing for at least a 30-minute break after 5 consecutive hours of work. The rest period need not be included in the computation of the number of hours worked.

Interestingly, a proposed law has been working its way through Ohio’s legislature that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work until 9 p.m. year-round in Ohio with their parents’ and school administrators’ consent.  Campanella Law Office will be monitoring this legislation closely as it progresses.

Meanwhile, if you intend to hire youth labor this summer, consider seeking advice from an attorney on the appropriate policies and procedures for doing so.

(This blog, prepared by Campanella Law Office, is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to convey specific legal advice, nor is it intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.)

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