News
Date:May 3, 2007
Contact:Ed Pratt @ (225) 342-3035

No summer vacation from child labor laws
Labor Department reminds employers of rules

BATON ROUGE — As the temperature rises, so does the number of teens in the state looking for summer jobs. The Louisiana Department of Labor wants to remind young workers, parents and employers about state laws regarding child labor.

“During the summer, we see a larger number of teenage workers entering the job market,” said Labor Programs Director Lonnie Rogers. “Even though school may not be in session, child labor laws still must be followed by both the young employees and those who hire them.”

Of the more than 68,000 employment certificates issued to young workers last year, almost 43 percent were issued between May 1 and August 31. For the one-year period following Hurricane Katrina, the number of certificates issued increased 22 percent from the previous 12-month period as businesses hired more teenagers to fill vacancies.

Glenn Cox, operations director for the Bossier City-based Reiser Group, which owns 25 Sonic Drive-Ins in North Louisiana, knows the importance of following the law. “By strictly adhering to the child labor laws, we are able to recruit and retain higher quality workers; more important than ever before with the increase in business following Hurricane Katrina,” Cox said. “Our young workers know that they will be treated fairly with work hours and wages, which makes for a more productive work environment.”

On nights prior to a day when school is not in session, such as the summer vacation period, the state allows young employees to work later than they could on school nights. Fourteen- and 15-year olds can work as late as 9 p.m. Sixteen- and 17-year olds have no restrictions on how late they can work if there is no school the next day. However, employers are reminded that all minors must have an 8-hour rest period between work days.

State law prohibits workers under the age of 18 from working in certain types of occupations and performing hazardous duties, such as operating certain types of power-driven machinery, welding, roofing and performing demolition or wrecking work. Minors are also prohibited from working as delivery drivers. A complete list of hazardous duties and specific exceptions to these rules can be obtained online at www.LAWORKS.net.

All minors are subject to the state’s child labor laws. Child labor laws affect underage workers year round including prohibiting minors under 14 years of age from employment, except under certain circumstances, and having a minor employment certificate on file with their employer before starting work. The certificate can be obtained from the local high school or school board office.

Violations of the state’s child labor laws carry criminal and civil penalties for each offense. Through its Labor Programs Division, the agency offers seminars for business managers on the state’s child labor laws. There is no charge for the presentation, which lasts about an hour and can be conducted at the place of business.

For more information about child labor laws, log onto the Louisiana Department of Labor Web site, www.LAWORKS.net, and visit the “Louisiana Youth Works” portal. Managers interested in scheduling a child labor laws seminar should contact Lonnie Rogers at 225-342-7690 to set up an appointment.

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