Child Labor and Youth Employment Laws

By | September 11, 2014

The children and youth employees due to their age and being new to the industry are often exploited by the employers in form of less payments of wages and subjective them to harsh work environment that is not suitable to them. The Federal government under the aegis of Wage and Hour Department (WHD) aims at protecting the interests and welfare of the minors and young employees with the help of child labor and youth employment laws. While child labor laws were framed to ensure that the right of education of the minors remains safe and they are not subjected to harsh work environments, youth employment laws ensure that he is not exploited for being new to the job and not under paid.

Child labor laws
To safeguard the right to education of the minors and to protect them from the hazardous work conditions, the Federal government provides certain guidelines to the employers in form of Child Labor laws.

Under the law, it is illegal to employ a minor under 12 years of age. Hence if a kid is below 12 years of age,you simply can not hire him. Minors between 12 and 16 years of age can be employed only for a limited number of hours in some limited occupations that are allowed to hire child employees. Those who are between 16 and 18 years of age can be employed for without any restrictions for work hours but only in jobs which are not hazardous in nature. A number of exceptions and clauses exist for these laws and one needs a good understanding of the laws. Sometimes when state child labor laws also apply in addition to the Federal laws. In such cases. The State laws end up being more strict.

Youth employment
Laws are very strict and clear regarding the youth employment. Posters should be displayed at a place where people come for seeking employment. Posters should be accessible to them. Employees below 20 years of age are entitled for a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 calendar days of the employment. If the employee reaches 20 years of age before the 90 days of employment, regular minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is applicable to him.

Youth employers or existing employers can not be subjected to polygraph tests by their employers under Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA). The polygraph tests can not be used for employment purposes. It can be used under typical cases of situations like theft. Some employers like security and armored car services can use polygraph tests for hiring purposes on their employees. But in any case, the tests have to be administered by an expert and the results of the tests can not be demanded by the employer.

This way the WHD has assured maximum protection to the child rights to the child labors safeguarding their interests and their right to education protecting them from hazardous work environment. When coming to the youth employment, the Federal agency has not done any less. Minimum wage of $4.25 per hour has been earmarked for them for a period of 90 consecutive days of the employment till the age of 20 years.