Top Five Things To Know About Minors in the Workplace

Summer is almost here, which means that many employers will soon look to hire young people just getting started in the workplace. Last year, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued more than 4,000 minor employment certificates to businesses around the state.

In preparation for a spike in summer youth employment, BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers program has issued the top five tips for businesses looking to hire workers between the ages of 14 to 17:

1)      Employers hiring minors should first obtain an annual employment certificate from the Child Labor Unit of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Businesses can apply online or call (971) 673-0836 to get more information, but the process is pretty straight forward. It’s high season for applications, so the sooner employers can apply, the better.

2)      Minors can contribute to a workplace in a number of ways, but employers will need to keep an eye on the clock to make sure minors don’t work beyond certain limits. Also, some work is prohibited for safety reasons. Employers should be especially aware of additional hazardous work restrictions for minors under 16. Find more information here at this online information sheet.

3)      Minors working during the summer are entitled to meal periods of at least a half hour plus two 15 minute paid breaks during a typical 8-hour shift. Unlike most workers, minors under 18 are entitled to a minimum of four hours “show up pay” when an employer cancels a shift.

4)      Employers should make sure not to misclassify employees as unpaid interns when they are, in fact, performing compensable work. Employers with questions about the relationship should apply a seven part “primary benefit test” developed by the U.S. Department of Labor and recent case law found here.

5)      In Oregon, unpaid interns are entitled to the same civil rights protections as employees. Any intern facing harassment or retaliation on the job can contact the agency’s Civil Rights Division at (971) 673-0764.

For more information about BOLI’s efforts to help Oregon employers navigate child labor protections, please visit BOLI’s website here.

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