In an article last week we led off with the email from an 8 year old girl’s mother & we are glad to state that she has been getting plenty of support from their local NAWIC chapter. One issue they have run into though is that they aren’t able to visit a job site with her to see any women working, much less let her pound a nail into a piece of wood due to numerous regulations & insurance issues. Seriously?
With that in mind, and considering it is summer break for many I thought it might be a good time to review the labor laws & how they apply to the construction industry along with some shots from the Skills USA National championship.
The Fair Labor Standard Act or FLSA not only covers regular employee pay & protections but also has a section on child labor. The primary focus is to “protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety.”
3 important points to remember:
- All states have their own child labor standards which are generally pretty similar to the feds. With that said whichever “standard” is deemed the strictest or more protective is the one that applies.
- While the FLSA does not require a work permit, some states like Alabama do.
- Once an employee is 18, there are no applicable federal child labor rules, but some states may have some provisions that still apply to those under 19 or are still in school. (Alabama is one of those states, as you are not considered an “adult” till you reach 19.)
Age & Work Locations Allowed:
- Ages 13 and younger: baby-sit, deliver newspapers, or work as an actor or performer
- Ages 14 and 15: office work, grocery store, retail store, restaurant, movie theater, or amusement park
- Ages 16 and 17: Any job not declared hazardous
- Age 18: No restrictions
While many can work if they are under 16 the chances of being able to find anyone willing to hire them is unfortunately pretty small. Baby-sitting now requires a license in many states and newspapers are quickly dying off. As mentioned above, most other locations won’t even consider it sue to insurance requirements.
What is deemed “Hazardous”?
- Using, setting up, adjusting, oiling, or acting as helper for the following power tools
- Circular saws, table saws, band saws or any other power tool designed to cut wood or meta
- Molders, routers, and other power tools related to shaping, molding wood or metal
- Chain saws & wood chippers
- All metal forming, rolling, punching, and shearing machines
- All fixed or portable machines or tools driven by power designed for cutting, shaping, forming, surfacing, nailing, stapling, wire stitching, or fastening wood
There are 4 general exemptions (with some caveats) to the “hazardous” portion above which includes Apprenticeships, Trade Schools, and family owned businesses. The 4th one that would apply to most businesses is a partnership with the local school or government for a youth works program. As each state can vary dramatically it would behoove you to check your states regulations &/or consult with a lawyer if there is any confusion.
- Mandatory Conditions – all must be met
- It must be during daylight hours
- They hold a valid state license for the type of driving involved
- They must have successfully completed a State approved driver education course
- They cannot have a record of any moving violations
- The vehicle is equipped with a seat belt for the driver and all passengers
- The employer must instruct the youth that the seat belts must be used at all times
- The vehicle does not exceed 6,000# GVW
- And the big one – such driving must be “only occasional and incidental” to their employment (e.g. no more than 1/3 of a workday & 20% or less of the total work time in a work week maybe spent driving)
- Tow a vehicle
- Do any “transportation for hire” of property, goods, or passengers
- Make any urgent or time-sensitive delivery
- Transport more than 3 passengers
- drive outside of a 30 mile radius
- Make more than two trips in any single day to deliver goods to a customer
Family Owned Business part Deux:
The FLSA specifically exempts its minimum age requirements for family owned businesses with a few exclusions where the 18-year age minimum applies like demolition work. With that stated, be careful as some states may have limits on this. For example in Alabama persons 14 or 15 years of age who are members of the immediate family of the contractor may be employed ONLY in trades involving nonhazardous duties or occupations.
Alabama Business Beware:
25-5-34 Workman’s Comp: If a minor was employed in violation of a law regulating the employment of the minor, the compensation shall be two times what it would be if the employment had been legal.