If your teen has a job after school and on the weekends or is planning to work during summer vacation, you probably assume that their employers don’t have a lot of the same obligations to them that they have to their adult, full-time employees – like providing workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job. Your teen may not even know what workers’ comp is.
However, employers have a multitude of responsibilities when it comes to minors – including providing workers’ comp. Under Minnesota law, most private (non-governmental) employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees or get the necessary authorization to self-insure. This insurance must be available to “any individual who performs services for another, for hire, including minors, part-time workers and workers who are not citizens.” There are exceptions for farmers.
State restrictions for working minors
All states, including Minnesota, also place restrictions on the type of work that minors can do, based on their age, and the hours they’re allowed to work. For example, under Minnesota law, those under 14 can only have a few types of jobs, and only with parental consent and/or supervision.
Those under 16 typically can’t work during school hours, before 7:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. Again, there are exceptions for those who work on farms. There are also exceptions for paper routes. Those used to be many kids’ first jobs, but they aren’t as common these days. Teens who are 16 and 17 have fewer restrictions but do have limits regarding early morning and late-night work.
Age restrictions for working teens and child labor laws are in place largely to protect their safety and their ability to devote sufficient time to their education while still earning some money. Employers are required to abide by these laws. They also have a duty to their young workers to provide them with the necessary training, equipment and support they need to do their jobs safely.
If your child has suffered a work-related injury or illness, don’t let their employer try to tell them they don’t have a right to workers’ comp if they need medical treatment and/or time off of work. Be sure that you know their rights and help them assert those rights.