Youth employment laws

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many teenagers will soon be out of school and looking for a way to turn their extra time into cash. It's part of the reason why the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry is set to initiate a statewide awareness campaign.

At Need Supply Company in Richmond the manager says she's very familiar with the law when it comes to employment and teenagers.

"We know the laws are different between a 14 year old and say a 16, 17, and 18 year old as far as how many hours they can work - break time allotted things like that," said Skye Purdum of Need Supply Company.

By law, teens who are 14 or 15 need a permit to work. They cannot work past 9:00 p.m. and for five hours of continuous work they're entitled to a 30 minute break.

"We want to ensure it's a positive and safe environment for these young people," said Frank Dellinger.

Dellinger is with the Department of Labor and Industry. Starting June 22 the department will initiate a door to door campaign contacting as many as 400 employers.

"We know there are some businesses that regularly hire youth and those are the ones we'll target first - but its education for any potential employer," said Dellinger.

Teens who are 16 or 17 have no restrictions on their hours of work. Teenagers at least 16 years of age may not work in a number of places including, warehouses, and funeral homes. There are consequences for employers who do not abide by the state child labor laws.

"'We can enforce financial penalties up to $15,000 for a violation per youth," he said.

Parents are encouraged to meet their teenager's boss. It was a must for Mary Belanger when her 15 year old daughter got a job as a lifeguard.

"I just wanted to make sure that they felt comfortable. We knew management at the pool and everything worked out," Belanger said.

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