The long, hot summer is almost upon us. You can tell by the number of teenagers looking for summer jobs. There are many good reasons to hire a teenager or two during the summer school break but it’s probably wise to keep in mind all the rules and regulations that govern hiring children.
Yes, teenagers are legally considered children under the Texas child labor laws even though the biggest argument you’re likely to get on that score comes from the teenagers themselves. No matter how big, strong, or precocious the teen seems, the crucial factor when it comes to the law is age. The job responsibilities allowed for teenagers even differs from younger teenagers to older ones.
Texas child labor laws are enforced in conjunction with regulations issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL). According to the DOL, there three age categories for teenagers on the job and each category brings its own set of allowed duties and restrictions. The age categories are ages 14 and 15, ages 16 and 17, and teenagers older than 17.
For the younger teens, no more than three hours of non-hazardous work on a school day is allowed and no more than 18 hours per week during the school year. Once school is out, a standard 40-hour workweek is allowed as long as the child doesn’t work any more than 40 hours in one week. These 14- and 15-year old teens are allowed to report to work only from 7 AM ‘til 7 PM during the school year and until 9 PM during summer months.
Older teens, ages 16 and 17, have no limit on number of hours worked or the time of day spent on the job. They can do any tasks not deemed hazardous by the DOL, which usually excludes teens working with any power-driven equipment and machinery. Interestingly enough, though, teens in this age bracket are allowed to operate power-driven lawn-mowing equipment.
Texas employers are encouraged to hire teenagers for summer work. According to TWC’s Ron Lehman, Commissioner Representing Employers, “The teen workforce is a definite asset to employers at a time of year when business traffic is traditionally high. It is imperative that employers understand the types of work activities young workers can perform safely and legally to benefit the most from the experience.”
Today let’s take a look at the Texas Child Labor Law Poster. Every Texas employer needs to post a Texas Child Labor Law Poster. The purpose of the Texas Child Labor Law is to ensure that a child is not employed in an occupation or manner that is detrimental to the child’s safety, health, or well-being. For the purposes of this law, “Child” is defined by the State of Texas as an individual under 18 years of age.
It’s generally illegal to employ a child under the age of 14 years, in Texas. Specific exceptions allow the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to adopt rules, which authorize the employment of children under 14 years of age to work as actors in movies, TV, radio and on stage, with certain restrictions.
The Commission or its designee may, during working hours, inspect a place of business where there is good reason to believe a child is or has been employed within the last two years and collect information about the employment of children there. Knowingly or intentionally hindering such an investigation is a violation of the law.
In general, the Texas Child Labor Laws do not apply to young people who are employed in a non-hazardous occupation, under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian, in a business owned or operated by their parent or guardian. The restrictions also exclude youngsters 11 years old or older who deliver newspapers. Provisions are also made for school work-study programs, and children involved in agricultural work outside of school hours.
A child 14 or 15 years of age may not work more than eight hours in one day or more than 48 hours in one week. A child who is 14 or 15 years of age and is enrolled in public or private school may not work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on a day that is followed by a school day. Children aged 14 or 15 years may not work between midnight and 5 a.m. Violators of the Texas Child Labor Laws are subject to prosecution for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, plus an additional $10,000 fine per incident.
During my research into Texas labor laws, I found that Texas employs a very strict Child labor law. It is Federally mandated that each state follow Federal guidelines when dealing with Child Labor. In Texas, Chapter 51 of the Texas Labor Code states that the purpose of the Code is to “ensure that a child is not employed in an occupation or manner that is detrimental to the child’s safety, health or well-being.” This is a fairly standard statement across the states.
The Code states that a child is defined as any person under the age of 18. However, unless the statute specifically authorizes it, it is illegal to employ a child under the age of 14. As such, the Child Labor Law determines how minors aged 14-17 should act when it comes to employment.
Texas Commission Rule Section 817.31 sets the procedure for authorization of work by a child actor. The code states that if a child is involved with a theatrical production, then he or she is able to work even under the age of 14, as long as the work does not interfere with his or her education.
The Commission also states that it may inspect a place of business where there is good reason to believe a child is being employed or has been employed within the last two years. The inspector can collect information about the employment of all children there under the Commission’s guidelines. If an employer or anyone knowingly hinders such an investigation, then the employer or perpetrator is in violation of the law.
If a child is aged 14 or 15, he may not work for more than 8 hours a day or more than 48 hours in one well. If the child is enrolled in school, then he may not work between the hours of 10pm and 5am, which tends to be more lenient than in most other states.