I know that many children in middle school and up are eager to get a part-time job and earn some spending money. If you’re a parent of a child who wants to work, you need to familiarize yourself with the state labor laws pertaining to child workers.
The New Jersey Child Labor Law Act was designed to protect children from working too long, working at jobs that are inappropriate for their age, and from working too late into the night. The Child Labor Law is one of many laws that the state of New Jersey requires to be posted at places of employment. By posting laws such as these, the state is making everyone aware of the existence of the law, and encouraging compliance from employers.
The law requires all children to obtain a special work permit, and it regulates jobs that children can hold. For example, 11 year old children can hold a newspaper route, but they cannot work before 6 a.m. or after 7 p.m. children age 12 through 15 can perform agricultural work outside of school hours.
Children age 14 can participate in “street sales,” selling goods or merchandise on the streets or door-to-door. They must work only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Fourteen year olds can also work in domestic jobs or as messengers.
Jobs that are considered hazardous to children include anything that exposes them to poisonous substances, alcoholic beverage manufacture or sales, operating machinery or saws, and demolition. Children cannot be employed in any sort of job that exposes them to indecent or immoral acts.
People who violate the Child Labor Law can be fined from $100 to $1,000. Each day of the employment is considered a separate offense, and further administrative fines may apply.
The New Jersey Child Labor Law enforces what jobs children can hold, at what ages, and how long they can do them. There are, of course some jobs that children are prohibited from doing at all, and there are some regulations for employers who employ children.
As we have all seen a child of any age can be an actor. At 11 or 12 years of age, children can deliver newspapers, work on a farm or in a garden or nursery, raise animals, and do forestry. At 14, they can work in offices, stores, and hotels, deliver packages, work in restaurants and theaters, and sell and distribute merchandise. They can also be hospital workers, camp counselors, lifeguards, cooks, and baby-sitters. At sixteen, most teenagers can drive, so their duties can include driving and operating power-driven machinery such as lawn mowers. At 18, teens have reached an age where they are legally considered an adult – therefore, they have the option of working almost any job.
There are some prohibited occupations for children, and most are common-sense exclusions. Children may not be exposed to toxic materials, lead, pesticides, flammable substances, or explosives. Children may also not use most heavy industrial machinery that could harm them. And children may not work in mines and quarries, places that serve alcohol, prisons, or be asked to do anything illegal or immoral.
Employers have an obligation to post a child’s work schedule in plain sight. Along with the schedule it is also mandatory for the employer to post the labor law posters for both the state and federal laws. The New Jersey Complete Labor Law poster provides all of the specified child labor laws along with all other state and federal laws. Employers must also provide a 30-minute meal break after five hours of work. Children can’t work more than three hours a day during school days, and more than 18 hours a week on school weeks. During vacations and summers, children may not work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. There are also restrictions on how early and late a child may work (7am – 7pm for 14 and 15 year olds, 6am and 11pm for 16 and 17 year olds.).
Under New Jersey State Law, employers who violate these conditions may be charged as much as $250 for the first violation and $500 for subsequent violations. An employer may also be fined up to $10,000 for every violation that is proven in a federal court.