What should I know about hiring minors?

If you run a business where your most likely employees will be those under the age of 18, then you need to become familiar with the laws concerning the employment of minors. The rules and guidelines for employees who are not adults are strict and exact.

You will want to be sure you are not breaking the law when paying them, assigning work duties and creating the schedule.

Hours worked

If you will employ individuals who are not yet 16 years old, you need to know they cannot work over three hours on days school is in session. The most they can work on a non-school day is eight hours. They also cannot work before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm unless there is no school the next day, and then, they can work until 11:00 pm.

Age verification

You have every right during the hiring process to ask about a potential employee’s age if he or she is a minor. You can ask for proof as well. The laws concerning age discrimination do not apply to those under the age of 40. You will need this information to ensure you are not breaking employment laws.


Minors cannot work in many hazardous situations. They will not be able to work in most manufacturing jobs or in mining or logging operations. They usually cannot operate heavy equipment either. Some teens, depending on their age, may be unable to work around fryers or ovens. The exact duties a teen can perform relate to his or her age.


Generally, you must pay minors the same minimum wage rate you would pay adults. Even in situations where employees may receive tips, you must ensure they are earning at least minimum wage. It is your responsibility to make up for any difference. Note this applies to all employees, not just minors.

Hiring child workers can be beneficial. If you have a business where you cannot provide a full-time, livable income for an adult, then teens may be your only work pool. In any case, if you are hiring minors, make sure you understand the specific laws pertaining to these workers.