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Summer Time is Teens Working! Illinois Employers Should Check Child Labor Laws When Hiring Minors Under the Age of 16

June 2013

By: Anthony J. Caruso, Esq.

The boss just told you to hire his/her young teenager to work at the company for the summer. What do you do to protect the company? Is it legally OKAY? What paperwork is required? What are the restrictions on the hours worked and type of work to be performed? All of these questions are answered under child labor laws.

The Illinois Department of Labor as provided by the Illinois Child Labor Law regulates the employment of minors under the age of 16 and requires all minors to have employment certificates (work permits). As such, the superintendents of schools or their authorized agents secure employment certificates online at the Illinois Department of Labor website. In addition, under federal law, there are child labor provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Teen Workers (14 & 15 years of age)

In order to get an employment certificate (work permit), the teen worker must do the following:

  • Find a job and get a "letter of intent to hire" from the prospective employer. The letter must outline the hours to be worked and what will be done.
  • Minor with parent should take letter, physical exam, birth certificate, and social security card to school and request issuing officer for an employment certificate (work permit).

For Employers

No Work Permit/No Work

  • No employment certificate/no work for teens under age of 16. Employers are subject to fines by the Illinois Department of Labor if there is no employment certificate.

No Work in Certain Occupations

  • Minors under the age of 16 may not work in certain hazardous occupations. Check list at Illinois Department of Labor website.

Hour Restrictions

When school is in session, children 14 and 15 years of age may work:

  • Up to 3 hours per day;
  • Up to 24 hours per week; and
  • The combined hours of school and work may not exceed 8 hours per day.

When school is NOT in session (including summer vacations, holidays and weekends), children under the age of 16 may NOT work:

  • More than 8 hours per day;
  • More than 6 days per week; nor
  • More than 48 hours per week.

Daily hours of work may not be before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. except between June 1 st and Labor Day when working hours may be extended to 9:00 p.m.

A scheduled meal period of at least thirty (30) minutes must be provided no later than the fifth consecutive hour of work.

Under Age 14

  • Children under age 14 are not employable with exceptions:
  • Most work for persons in their private homes, such as babysitting and yard work is okay.
  • Minors may sell and distribute magazines and newspapers, and/or engage in agriculture pursuits outside of school hours and 13 year olds can work as golf caddies.

Ages 16 to 19

  • Do not need an employment certificate (work permit). Work may be limited as to certain hazardous occupations.

If you have any questions or concerns about this topic or any other questions related to employment, please call attorney Anthony J. Caruso of Wessels Sherman's St. Charles, Illinois office at (630) 377-1554 or e-mail ancaruso@wesselssherman.com.