Hiring the Younger Worker

Do you have a need for seasonal or part-time workers? Often, employers turn to high school age employees. If those students are at least 18 years of age, there’s no problem. A youth 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not.

However, employees under the age of 18 are subject to more stringent regulation and protection. One reason: studies show that younger workers suffer injuries at a higher rate than adults. The Fair Labor Standards Act (federal) defines non-agricultural jobs that youth under the age of 18 may perform. Those 16 or 17 years of age may perform any job that is not “hazardous.” Hazardous jobs may include, but are not limited to, work with power-driven woodworking machines, exposure to radioactive substances, meat packing or processing including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines, power-driven bakery machines, power-driven paper product machines, power-driven circular saws and band saws and wrecking or demolition work.

Children of 14 and 15 years old are also excluded from hazardous jobs and they may not work in manufacturing or mining industries. Younger workers are best known for working at jobs like answering phones and filing; bagging and carrying out customer's orders; cashiering, selling, private delivery work, assembly type preparation of food and drinks, pricing and tagging goods, shelving product, pumping gas, and cleaning and polishing cars and trucks. Cooking and baking are not allowed.

Massachusetts Law regulates the work hours of minors, as well as their supervision. For example, after 8:00 p.m., all minors must be under the direct and immediate supervision of an adult acting in a supervisory capacity. The supervisor must be at the worksite and be reasonably accessible.

Sixteen and 17-year olds may be employed between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day. They may work in restaurants until 12:00 p.m. midnight on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day. Even if school is not in session, this age group can work a maximum of 48 hours a week, nine hours a day, and six days a week.

This article may be considered advertising under the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.