As summer has hit in full force, many teens are excited to have their first real jobs. Unfortunately, some will be hurt, possibly seriously. Young workers have a higher rate of getting hurt on the job than older adults. Teens new to the workforce feel that they have to say yes to every task they’re assigned. Often, they just aren’t trained to do what they have been asked to do.
Teens’ parents should make sure young workers get the training they need but also be aware and know their rights, especially for those teens who have entered the workforce for the first time or have taken on new responsibilities as they have gotten older. Parents and teens should always ask questions, especially when they’re concerned for safety.
A common theme for parents of kids who have been injured is to find out what your child has been assigned to do, and sit down with your child and find out if there are dangers involved. Ask your teen about the equipment used on the job and whether he or she has been asked to do anything unsafe. Tell your children that no job is worth their life.
All workers have a right to appropriate training and can refuse work assignments that are unsafe.
In Nebraska …
Federal hour restrictions for children 14 and 15 years old are: not over 3 hours on a school day; not over 18 hours in a school week; not over 8 hours on a non-school day; not over 40 hours in a non-school week; and not before 7 a.m. nor after 7 p.m. (9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day). For more federal regulations, click here.
Children under 16 years old may not be employed in any work that is dangerous to life or limb, or in which the child’s health may be injured or their morals depraved.
The law allows 14- and 15-year-olds to perform tasks such as office work, cashiering and stocking shelves, but they can’t cook, bake or use power equipment.
Youth ages 16 and 17 may do more at work, but there are still restrictions. They can’t operate or work around heavy, moving equipment. They’re also not allowed to use equipment like meat slicers or meat grinders.
Employers must have a minor work permit endorsement on their business license to legally hire teens.
The Department of Labor may issue a special permit to allow the employment of 14- and 15-year-old children before 6 a.m. or after 10 p.m. provided there is no school scheduled these days and after an inspection of the working conditions at the business location. Special permits may be issued for up to 90 days and may be renewed.
Be excited for your children as they enter young adulthood, but know of the dangers that can be presented, and do not fear asking tough questions and researching your child’s employment tasks. Their life and limb may depend on it.