As employers fill summer jobs with young workers, certain federal and state laws must be considered when setting the terms and conditions for such employees.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which sets forth the federal laws on youth employment, the primary work restrictions are contingent upon age and occupation. The age of the minor carries with it corresponding limitations on the amount of permissible work hours. For minors ages 14 and 15, they: (1) can work outside school hours, but not more than 3 hours in a school day and not more 18 hours in a school week; (2) can work up to 8 hours on a non-school day; and (3) can work up to 40 hours on a non-school week. The amount of hours worked is further restricted by the time of day a 14 or 15 year-old may work. Minors age 14 and 15 may only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the exception that from June 1 through Labor Day work until 9 p.m. is permitted. As for minors age 16 years and older, the FLSA does not limit the number of hours or times of day that work may be performed.
Employers must also be mindful of pertinent State laws in addition to the FLSA. In Arkansas, with limited exception, a minor must be at least age 14 to work.
To employ a minor under the age of 16, an employer must obtain a work permit from the Arkansas Department of Labor. As for the limitation on hours, a minor under the age of 16 may work up to 6 days in any week, up to 8 hours in any day, and only between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., except on non-school nights when work is permitted until 9 p.m. Arkansas permits a minor under 16 to work up to 48 hours per week, but, a minor age 14 or 15 working for an employer covered by the FLSA may only work a total of 40 hours per week, regardless of the extended Arkansas limitations.
Unlike the FLSA, Arkansas limits the amount of hours worked by minors ages 16 and 17. A 16 or 17 may work: (1) no more than 6 days per week; (2) no more than 54 hours per week; (3) no more than 10 consecutive hours in any day; and (4) no more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period. Minors age 16 and 17 may work between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., although the limitation is extended to midnight on non-school nights. In certain occupations and circumstances, on non-school nights, work may be permissible between midnight and 6 a.m.
Nature of the Work. Employers should also appreciate that, in addition to the limitations relating to the total hours worked and time of day, there are also both Federal and State restrictions on the type of industries in which a minor may work. The FLSA permits minors ages 16 and 17 to perform any “non-hazardous” jobs and permits minors ages 14 and 15 to perform non-manufacturing, non-mining and non-hazardous jobs. The FLSA regulations provide guidance as to what jobs constitute permissible jobs. For Arkansas, minors under the age of 16 are also prohibited from performing certain types of work. The Arkansas child labor laws and regulations provide further detail on the type of work prohibited.