High school and college-age workers are an important part of the employment pool; they take your order at fast-food restaurants, bag your groceries, keep your community lawns looking nice, and lots of other things. They are a growing part of our workforce, as Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement age and new waves of workers are entering our economy.
The U.S. Department of Labor sets specific rules and guidelines for youthful workers through the Fair Labor Standards Act. Did you know that the minimum age for employment is 14 years old? What were YOU doing when you were 14?
If your company has the need to employ summer help or younger-aged workers, check with your local government office to see which state and federal rules may apply to you. Restrictions may include:
- Number of hours worked during a week.
- Time of day the employee may work.
- Exclusion of hazardous job classes, such as certain types of machinery operations.
Also, injuries can occur with younger workers as often as they can with an older, more seasoned worker. Although the youngsters may be more energetic and agile, a lack of supervision or training, as well as performing duties that are beyond their skill or maturity level, can lead to injury.
Employing this age class requires considerable thought. Take the time to establish a comprehensive training program that is tailored for that audience – remember, kids have a short attention span! And, although these new workers have newfound independence, they still need to be guided and watched over. Supervision is needed at all times.
The youth of America are part of our workforce, so let’s get them started on the right foot!
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