Back to School: L&I Offers Reminders About Job Rules for Teens During the School Year
HARRISBURG, Pa. – As students go back to school and maintain employment during the school year, Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak is reminding Pennsylvanians that the state’s Child Labor Law limits working hours and the types of work that may be performed by employees under age 18 while in school.
“Students who work during the school year can get valuable work experience and earn a paycheck year-round,” Oleksiak said. “But businesses that hire young people must follow the laws in place to protect younger workers, prioritize their education, and ensure they have a safe, positive experience.”
Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law protects the health, safety, and welfare of minors employed in the commonwealth by restricting employment in certain establishments, the hours of work, work conditions and occupations involved.
The law covers three age groups: less than 14 years of age, 14- and 15-year-olds, and 16- and 17-year-olds. All minors under 16 must have a written statement by the minor’s parent or guardian acknowledging the duties and hours of employment and granting permission to work. All minors under 18 must obtain a work permit before starting work.
Under-14 Work Restrictions
Children under age 14 may not be employed in any occupation; however, they are permitted to work on a family farm or in domestic service, such as lawn or house chores. Other exceptions are made for caddies, newspaper carriers and – with special permits – juvenile entertainment performers.
14-15-Year-Olds Work Restrictions
During the school year, 14 – and 15-year-olds may work a maximum of three hours on school days, and 18 hours per school week (Monday—Friday), plus eight additional hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Students age 14-15 may only work during times that do not interfere with school attendance. For some occupations, such as newspaper delivery, caddies and some farm work, different standards may apply.
16-17-Year-Olds Work Restrictions
During the school year, 16 – and 17-year-olds may only work a maximum of eight hours a day and 28 hours per school week, plus eight additional hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
All minors may not work more than six consecutive days, and must be allowed a 30-minute meal period on or before five consecutive hours of work. Full- or part-time minors must be paid at least minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.
In addition, all employers that employ minors must verify that the work permit and the parental statement of permission has been received. Employers must also notify the issuing officer in writing that they are employing the minor, detailing the normal duties and hours of employment within five days after the minor begins working.
Workers who are 18 years and older are not subject to child labor laws. The federal child labor law also applies in Pennsylvania. Where they overlap, the more stringent of the two laws takes precedence in favor of the young worker. More information is available by calling L&I’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance toll-free at 800-932-0665, or by visiting the Bureau of Labor Law’s website.
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