With the end of the school year in sight Oregon youth will soon be searching for summer work. This is good news for many employers, including cities, who count on a yearly influx of seasonal labor. However, it can be easy to forget that minors are unique in the eyes of the law. Employers who engage them must comply with all the standard employment laws and, in addition, apply the special protections afforded only to minors.
A "minor" is anyone under the age of 18.1 Generally, minors aged 14-17 may work in Oregon but are subject to restrictions on the hours and types of work they may perform. More importantly, minors under the age of 14 may not work in Oregon unless the Oregon Wage and Hour Commission issues a validated Employment Permit to the employer authorizing the minor to work for that employer.2 To employ any minors an employer must first:
- Submit a completed Employment Certificate Application (or renewal application) to the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).
- Post the Employment Certificate in a "conspicuous place where all employees can readily see it."3
- Update job descriptions for every position that might be filled by a minor. Cross-reference each updated job description against the list of occupations declared by the U.S. Department of Labor to be particularly hazardous that minors may not be employed to perform them.4 Examples of hazardous occupations include:
- Driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on motor vehicles, except for 17-year-olds driving cars or small trucks during daylight hours in limited circumstances.
- Occupations in forest fire fighting, forestry service, logging, and sawmilling.
- Using power-driven meat-processing machines such as meat slicers in restaurants and delicatessens. This includes hand-washing the disassembled machine parts.
- Make note of the job descriptions that contain duties declared by the Oregon Wage and Hour Commission to be hazardous for minors under age 16. Examples include:
- House-to-house canvassing, including outside sales.
- Cooking (with limited exceptions).
- Mechanical amusements.5
Once a minor is hired an employer must:
- Verify the age of the minor using an acceptable proof-of-age document. A list of acceptable documents may be found at OAR 839-021-0185(2).
- Maintain a record of the following information for each minor for at least two years:
- Full name and ID symbol or number if one is used in place of the minor's name on timesheets, work, or payroll records.
- Home address, including ZIP code.
- Telephone number.
- Date of birth and age.
- Sex and occupation in which the minor is employed.
- Day and time on which the minor's work week begins.
- Daily starting and quitting time.
- Total hours worked each day and each work week.
- Date of hire and date of separation.
- Date on which BOLI authorized the employer to employ minors.
- Wage rate and total wages paid each week.
- Deductions, rebates, or refunds taken from the minor's total wages and the net amount of wages paid.
- Any payroll or other such records that pertain to employment of minors.
- Schedule of the maximum number of hours to be worked each day and each week (if the minor is under age 16).6
- Ensure that the minor does not perform any prohibited work. If the minor's duties change at any time, submit a Notice of Change Form to BOLI.
- Make sure the minor does not work more than:
AgeHours of Work714-15When school is in session:
- 3 hours per day on school days
- 8 hours per day on nonschool days
- 18 hours per week
- Shifts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (but not during school hours)
When school is not in session:
16-1744 hours per week (no daily hour restrictions)
- 8 hours per day
- 40 hours per week
- Shifts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day
- Post the schedule of maximum hours of work by minors under age 16 in a conspicuous place where all minors have easy access to it.
- Employ at least one supervisor to supervise nine or fewer minors. Employ an additional supervisor for "each multiple of ten, or part thereof, minors employed."8
- Make transportation to the closest medical facility that provides emergency services available at all times minors are present.9
- On location, provide return transportation for a minor promptly upon dismissal.10
- Comply with all other federal and state employment laws.
While the process of hiring minors may seem onerous it can also be a very good way to introduce youth to how a city works, and the benefits of public service. But employment of youth is not without risks. Employers who violate child labor laws are subject to state civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation and federal civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Additionally, the Oregon Wage and Hour Division may revoke the right of the employer to hire minors in the future.
For more information about youth employment under the FLSA, see Fact Sheet #43: Youth Employment Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Nonagricultural Occupations.
For more information about youth employment in Oregon, see Employment of Minors: Questions & Answers — Wage and Hour: Child Labor and Bureau of Labor and Industries — Employment of Minors.
1. ORS 653.010(4).
2. OAR 839-021-0246(1).
3. OAR 839-021-0220.
4. See 29 CFR 570.51-570.68.
5. OAR 839-021-0097-0120.
6. OAR 839-021-0170 & 839-021-0365(1).
7. OAR 839-021-0067.
8. OAR 839-021-0330.
9. OAR 839-021-0350(5).
10. OAR 839-021-0350(6).
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