Published Date: 05/12/2014
By Pat Rountree
Applications for summer employment are likely already arriving as the school year draws to an end. Now is a good time to review things you need to know to be in compliance with laws affecting youth employment.
Wage and Hour Laws
North Carolina and federal law have limitations on hours and occupations for employees under age 18 applicable to non-agricultural employers. Where North Carolina employers are also subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the laws that offer the most protection to minors are applicable.
During non-school weeks, there are no restrictions on hours for youth 16 and over. If they are attending school, they may not work during the hours of 11:00 pm to 5:00 am if they have school the next day unless waived in writing by a parent or principal.
Minors age 14 and 15 may not work in any manufacturing job and are limited to eight hours per day, 40 hours per week between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm (7:00 am to 9:00 pm from June 1 to Labor Day) during non-school weeks. They must also be given a 30 minute break after working five hours. For more detailed information on restrictions for youth age 14 and 15, go to http://j.mp/Y-15.
Children of business owners may work for their parents in their business any hours, but not in hazardous or detrimental occupations as noted above.
North Carolina does not regulate youth employment in agriculture. For the applicable federal law, go to http://j.mp/j-ag.
Youth Certificate Required
All youth under age 18 working in North Carolina must obtain a youth certificate (worker’s permit) and submit it to the employer prior to starting work. See http://bit.ly/ncdol-y. These must be retained for at least two years after employment ends or until the employee reaches age 20.
The North Carolina youth employment provisions do not apply to farm work.
Drug Testing and Background Checks
Attorneys recommend having the parent sign the consent for pre-employment drug testing or post-offer background checks if these are required contingencies. However, the results should be released to the minor and not the parent(s).
Completing the Form I-9
If the minor has documents to satisfy I-9 requirements, they may complete Section 1 and present documents.
If the minor cannot present documentation of proof of identity and authorization to work, the parent may complete Section 1 on behalf of the minor. (See http://j.mp/I9-m.)
If you have questions about youth employment, please contact a member of CAI's Advice and Resolution Team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.