Hiring Minors for Summer Work

June 16, 2011

This Wisconsin Builders Association Hot Line is a service provided for the Wisconsin Builders Association by the law firm of Axley Brynelson, LLP. Legal Hot Line Answers should be considered a general statement of applicable legal information. Given this format, it is impossible to fully address all potential legal issues which might apply in any particular situation. A determination of any individual’s legal rights in a transaction can only be obtained after a complete analysis of the law and its applicability to the particular fact situation. Please contact the author of the article if additional information is needed, or private counsel, if legal advice is needed.

Where can you find information about restrictions for minors that you may hire as summer help?

A: Two main sources of law that address minors hired for summer help include the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the U.S. Department of Labor. There are specific requirements relating to the hours a minor may work and specific regulations as to the type of work that they may do. One such example concerns certain prohibitions regarding hazardous work.

If you hire a minor, you are required to display the state approved poster regarding the hours that a minor may work. Information about the poster may be obtained here. Additional information regarding the hours and days of the week that minors may work can be found here.

In Wisconsin, employers must have a work permit on file for the minor being employed before they may allow the minor to begin working. To obtain information about acquiring a work permit for a minor worker, you can call (608) 266-6860. It is the responsibility of the work permit officer to check to see that the job for which the minor is being hired is one that the minor is legally allowed to do. The permit will not be issued if the work is prohibited by law for minors.

The best way to insure that you do not hire a minor to do prohibited work is to accurately and completely inform the work permit officer of the scope of duties the minor will have and to insure that the minor stays within that scope of duties. For example, some of the prohibitions that affect minors in the construction industry include work that involves a potential exposure to asbestos, certain excavating work, assisting in the operation of cranes, hoists, and high-lift trucks, and working with circular or band saws, corner cutters, mitering machines, etc. The prohibitions against hazardous work are very broad and can lead to significant liabilities. You should make sure you work closely with the work permit officer to insure that any duties that a minor may have do not violate prohibitions.

Additional information regarding Wisconsin employment laws for minors can be found at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website.

Additional information regarding the Federal Government’s employment laws for minors can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor website.

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