Tips for Hiring Teens This Summer

May 03, 2018
Tips for Hiring Teens This Summer
May 03, 2018  |  From HRCalifornia Extra
Summer is synonymous with sunshine, sandals, warm nights and cool pools — and it’s traditionally a time when employers add teen workers as temporary help. Some industries, such as retail, hospitality and leisure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, generally see the most teen hires (think amusement park and ice cream parlor jobs).​
While hiring teens to fill out your workforce offers several benefits — such as helping your full-time staff develop skills in training and management and bringing fresh perspectives, ideas and solutions to your businesses, to name a few — specific rules and regulations must be followed: You must have the proper permits, comply with general wage and hour laws specific to minors, and take steps to protect their safety.
Know the Basics
Many state and federal laws regulate the employment of minors — persons under the age of 18 — including the California Labor Code and Education Code and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Some general rules are that:
  • Children under 18 may not work in certain industries or during certain hours of the day;
  • Children under 18 are restricted in the total number of hours per day they may work;
  • Employers who hire minors must generally acquire work permits for their under-18 employees and must comply with special record-keeping requirements for minors; and
  • Minors must be paid in accordance with California’s minimum wage (and, in some limited instances, subminimum wage requirements.)
Minors are excluded from California’s child labor laws only if they graduated from high school or obtained a graduation equivalency certificate. However, federal restrictions on hazardous occupations apply to all minors, regardless of graduation status.
Get Work Permits
With only very limited exceptions, employers must obtain work permits prior to employing minors. Permits are required year ‘round — even in the summer when school is not in session.
California law requires employers to have two forms in place before a minor’s employment begins. The following steps must be taken:
  • You and the minor must complete the first form, known as a Statement of Intent to Employ and Request for Work Permit — Form B1-1. The minor must complete Form B1-1, then you and the minor’s parent or guardian must sign it.
  • File Form B1-1 with the superintendent for the school district in which the minor attends school. If the minor is visiting from out of town or out of state, the superintendent for the school district in which the minor resides will provide the necessary forms.
  • The school district will issue the work permit known as a Permit to Employ and Work — Form B1-4.
  • Check to make sure the minor’s proposed work schedule complies with the hours on the permit.
  • Keep track of the work permit’s expiration date. A permit expires five days after a new school year begins. An employer must obtain a new work permit every time it hires or rehires a minor.
Keep Records or Face Fines
School authorities or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement may audit minors’ employment records — and failing to maintain work permits is evidence of illegally employing minors. You may face a $500 fine for the first offense, with increasing penalties for subsequent offenses.
In addition to maintaining the standard recordkeeping requirements applicable to adult employees, which includes providing itemized wage statements, employers also must maintain records of all minors’ names, ages, dates of birth and addresses.
Employers that illegally employ minors face significant penalties. For example, employers that allow minors to work in hazardous occupations may incur $5,000 to $10,000 penalties for each infraction. In some instances, agencies may even criminally prosecute employers, enforcing up to six months of jail time for unlawful employment.
Pay Extra Attention
Just like adult workers, minors are protected by state labor, employment and civil rights laws, including safety laws, and an employer can be liable for any violations of these laws. Because young workers might not be aware of their employment rights or of possible workplace hazards, their close supervision is important, at least as they start the new job.
As with any new employee, a minor worker must be introduced to the employee handbook and company policies. Provide the new hire with a copy of your required harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy, and obtain an acknowledgment that the individual received and read the policy.
Encourage the minor to speak up when sensing something amiss in others’ behavior or if they have any concerns at all.
As for their own behavior, teens may be unaware of the expectations of their conduct in the workplace. Behavior that might have been ignored or went undetected in the high school hallways may be clearly inappropriate for the workplace. The key to creating a positive experience for younger workers is to establish the ground rules right off the bat.
Promote Safety
With May being “Safe Jobs for Youth Month” in California, it’s a good time to remind employers to establish sound and safe work habits for new members of the labor pool. And the reasons are many: Every nine minutes, a teen is injured seriously enough to require a visit to the emergency room, according to a website sponsored by the California Department of Industrial Relations, which also states that each year, about 70 teens in the United States die from their work injuries.
Training teens about safety is critical. Teens are forbidden from working in many hazardous occupations, but injuries can happen in many types of workplaces. Of course, the general Cal/OSHA requirements for implementing an Illness and Injury Prevention Program apply. But for teens, these tips from the Labor Occupational Health Program also can help:
  • Provide teens clear instructions for each task and hands-on training for the correct equipment use.
  • Observe teens while they work and correct any mistakes.
  • Encourage teens to let you know if they don’t understand the directions or if there is a problem.
  • Emphasize the need to supervise teens to frontline supervisors who oversee them and make sure the supervisors themselves are setting a good example.
Best Practices
When deciding whether to employ a minor, keep in mind the following best practices:
  • Review the job description to determine if the position is suitable for a minor.
  • Consider whether a given position poses any particular risks to a minor’s health and safety.
  • Determine whether you need to provide additional training on workplace policies or safety to minors, or adjust schedules to accommodate minors’ unique needs.
  • Obtain necessary permits and keep records.
Sources: HR California