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What you need to know if you hire young teens this summer

Teens can be an excellent source of summer labor in many lines of work They can help fill the gaps left by employees in offices who are taking vacation time, help out in stores and restaurants and even assist with farm chores.

However, just because a teen may be willing and able to do just about any job and work long hours every day, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's legal. You need to know and adhere to federal and state child labor laws.

Both under federal law and Ohio state law, a minor cannot get a work permit until they turn 14. However, labor laws regarding 14- and 15-year-olds are detailed. During the school year, teens under 16 can't work more than three hours on a day when school is in session or more than 18 hours total during the week. They aren't allowed to work during school hours unless they are in a vocational program. They can't work before 7:00 a.m. or later than 7:00 p.m.

During the summer and other weeks when school isn't in session (like spring and winter breaks), these restrictions are eased somewhat. Young teens can work later in the day. However, they aren't allowed to work for longer than eight hours in a day or 40 hours throughout the week.

For minors who are 16 and 17, the regulations are somewhat less rigid. However, it's essential to know what they are if you're hiring an older teen or if one of your employees turns 16.

If you're hiring one or more teens for the first time (or for the first time in a while), it's wise to make sure you know the law and that you and any employee who is managing the teen adhere to it. If you run into issues where you're accused of not complying with child labor laws, talk with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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