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Is my business breaking child labor laws

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If you are not careful in the management of your teenager employees, your business may be inadvertently breaking Pennsylvania’s child labor laws. These laws essentially place limitations on your company’s ability to employ minors as a protection for their health and safety.

If you are like most employers, you face the greatest chance of accidentally breaking child labor laws when dealing with teens’ hours of employment. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, state law prohibits you from scheduling 14 and 15 year-olds for more than three hours after school, more than 18 hours for the school week, which goes from Monday through Friday. Additionally, you cannot schedule workers of this age for more than eight hours on a non-school day. All shifts you schedule for these minors must take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to remain in compliance with the law. When the minors are on school vacation, this work time rule extends to 9 p.m.

If your company chooses to employ 16 and 17 year-olds, you can schedule them to work for up to eight hours a day with a total of 28 hours in each school week and eight hours on weekend days. However, you must schedule them between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. If workers of this age are on school vacation, you can increase their schedule to 1 a.m. However, you cannot schedule any teen worker of any age for more than six consecutive days without violating the law.

Other limitations with employing minors may apply to your business. Unless you are a farmer or work in a private home, it may be illegal for you to employ anyone under the age of 14.  However, if you employ child performers, such as models, actors and singers, you may have an exceptional circumstance to which these laws do not apply. This information should not be taken as legal advice and is for instructional purposes only.