The way the updated child labor laws are set up in Oregon for 2007 and beyond, the employer and their minor employees don’t just have to file for and receive a certificate to allow the minor to work on your premises or for you in any disposal. No, the process doesn’t stop there.
If ever the job description or duties of the minor change while they are working for you, then you must apply for permission, in essence, for this to meet the requirements of the state child labor law. The official title for this permission is a Notice of Change to the annual employment certificate. You have to submit the Notice of Change to the Child Labor Unit of the Wage and Hour Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, and that must be done within 15 days of the change taking place.
Then, the Child Labor Unit of Oregon will get back to you and let you know if they permit the change to the minor’s job descriptions and duties. They can also, don’t forget, deny any changes to the minors change in duties, so always take that into account and never count your chickens before they’re hatched. If the job change is denied, obviously to follow the letter of the law you would need to have that minor revert back to their old job. This must be done immediately after you receive notice of the job change rejection, or you must entirely terminate the minor’s employment.
To follow the law, you must also post the minor’s certificate somewhere very open and easy to see for all of your other employees. And if the minor works at more than one of your sites, a copy of the certificate must be posted in each of the sites.
Hold up, don’t leave this topic just yet. We need to analyze how the rules have changes for employers in Oregon when it comes to getting them employment certificates to work. All minors age 14 through 17 are required to have one of these certificates, and they cannot work for you unless they otherwise do.
You must also before hiring one of these minors check and verify that they are actually as old as they say they are. That could involve asking them during the interview process to show you the appropriate license or other proof of age, such as a birth certificate, social security card, or school ID.
Getting back to the valid child labor employment certificate, after you check and verify their age, you must then make sure that the minors also have one of these certificates before they can even start to work for you. These certificates are gotten from the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which has offices throughout the state. It is at one of these offices that the child must get an application, or you can also get one from the Child Labor Unit of the Wage and Hour Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries at the divisions home offices in Portland, Oregon.
This isn’t an instantaneous process in Oregon, as we have seen in some other states where the Internet and computers have been used to speed the process up. No, in Oregon employers and the minors that you want to hire have to wait for the application approval process. Then after application gets approved and the child’s work status and age are verified, then the certificate stays valid for a year, unless it is suspended or invalidated for some reason. The deal, my loyal readers, doesn’t stop there. To be continued….
We’ve covered basically all there is to cover with the updated Oregon child labor laws when it comes to kids under 16, but what about minors working for you who are 16 or 17. They are in high school, relatively mature for their age—as mature as any teenager can be—so do they have the same restrictions that children under the age of 16 have? The answer, in short form, is no. They can work in many locations that their younger peers can’t, but there is still a good amount of restriction and responsibility that employers should be familiar with, and act on.
Remember that whole list of dangerous job locations and occupations that I just spent thousands of words to run through? Well, technically, minors age 16 and 17 shouldn’t be working in any of those locations deemed by the state of Oregon to be particularly dangerous to life and limb for a minor, though there are specific exemptions that you can find in the Oregon rules set up by the state’s Wage and Hour commission.
That in itself seems to be the big update in the Oregon child labor laws going forward into 2007. All of those occupations and job locations that I posted earlier in the blog, those are now for all intents and purposes off limits for children age 16 and 17, as well as children under 16.
Of course, as I mentioned in previous blogs, one sort of exception to these restrictions is that minors age 16 and 17 can work in the office of certain businesses, no matter how dangerous the work is for the primary part of the business. So at a lumber yard, for instance, where power saws and forklifts are running constantly and pose a serious health risk to people around them, minors could work in the office where it’s a bit more safe on the desktop and the fax machine.
This list does not stop there. So take a deep breath, gulp some of your coffee, wipe the sweat off your brow, and get prepared to learn more about all of the occupations and jobs that you cannot employer your minors under 16 to perform.
Remember, a key factor for many occupations is whether or not heavy machinery is around. If that is the case, for instance, minors under the age of 16 in Oregon cannot work at a feed mill or in a flour mill. They cannot work in a garage or in a grain warehouse. Irrigation works are off limits, as are laundry mats or dry cleaners, lithographing plants, mills of any kind, motor repair shops or garages, photoengraving plants or stores, printing plants or stores, any sort of shipbuilding operation, and stereotyping plants.
Basically this aspect to the amended child labor laws in the state of Oregon makes it illegal for any employer to employ a minor under the age of 16 to do any kind of work in a workshop, factory, mill or room—whatever setting it is—where there is a piece of machinery equipment that is power driven, and that machinery is used even in incidental ways in the business or for more integral ways such as getting goods ready to be sold.
There are also other settings that the state of Oregon deems dangerous, but the state will still allow minors to work there if they are only allowed to work in the office of that business. Such settings include auto wreckage yards, junk yards and dealers, motor vehicle sales or transport companies, lumber yards, or at water works. Again, in most positions at these locations, minors wouldn’t be allowed to work. The only place at these settings deemed safe enough for them is in the office filing paperwork, on the computer, etc.
Actually, minors probably will not be going on strike against the state of Oregon. Remember, the whole purpose of these child labor laws is to protect our wee little ones from dangerous jobs that adults do only because they need the money, they’re good at them, they like the thrill, or because somebody’s go to do them. Some more jobs that fit this bill—dangerous gigs that minors are forbidden under the latest Oregon minor labor laws to perform—include:
Minors are not allowed to work in any sort of mine setting, or to help in any way to move buildings, bridges, or any other kind of structures. They cannot perform peace officer work, nor work in such settings as a powder works, a quarry, in a reduction works, with a rock crusher, near or around smelters or stockyards, conduct surveying, or work in a tannery.
Believe it or not, you cannot allow employees under your care who are under 16 to perform tree surgery. They cannot conduct well digging or well drilling, and they are not allowed to be one of those window washers twenty stories up on a high rise, or cleaning windows on any building outside and off the ground.
Because of alcohol considerations, they are not permitted to work at a winery. And for safety reasons, they cannot perform wood cutting or wood sawing. Getting back to the notion that high-powered machinery is something that minors under the age of 16 should not be around because of the danger factor, here are some more occupations and employers that these kids should steer away from any time there is high powered machinery involved.
The list includes working at a boat repair shop, at canneries, at a chop mill, at a creamery, and even at a cycle repair shop. When heavy machinery are being employed to do work, minors under 16 in Oregon are forbidden to also work at an electrotyping plants or an engraving plants, at any sort of factory, such as a manufacturing or repair or alteration shop.