First, if you are in Oregon, make sure you have your Annual Employment Certificate from the Child Labor Unit of BOLI.* Second, think about investing in BOLI’s new Child Labor Laws Reference Manual. Third, if you don’t order the Manual, be careful to learn the rules about the kinds of jobs minor employees can and cannot do. For example, did you know that, with limited exceptions, employees under 17 cannot drive a motor vehicle on public roads as part of their job? Or that employees under 16 cannot work in a restaurant kitchen out of the public view? How about that 14 and 15 year olds cannot operate power driven lawn mowers except at private residences? If you are going to hire minors, make sure you know what they can do and when – and make sure you pay them just like your adult employees. Just because they are not grown-ups doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to minimum wage. As for overtime, the law prohibits 14-15 year olds from working more than 40 hours a week when school is not in session, so these kids should not work overtime. 16 -17 year olds can work up to 44 hours per week, so they might be entitled to 4 hours of overtime per week, which you, as the employer, have to pay.
*If you are in Washington, you need to obtain a minor work endorsement on your master business license.