A May jobs report indicates that opportunities to hire teens at small businesses in Denver and across the country are expanding.
Denver business lawyers know this is good for companies, the teens – and of course, the overall economy.
But businesses need to keep in mind that hiring teens can come with its own unique set of challenges. Sure, it’s cheaper. However, you’re going to be dealing with a level of inexperience, immaturity and very specific laws that govern wages and hours. Particularly if you are a small business owner, it’s important for you to read up on the laws and also to consult with a Denver business lawyer who can help you navigate some of the common pitfalls.
First, a look at some of the numbers. The newest job report indicates that there was an increase of some 67,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 who landed a job. That’s the biggest hike since 1999. What’s even more encouraging is that it appears that those teens are actually competing for jobs with other teens -rather than adults desperate for work.
That being said, here are some things to keep in mind if you are thinking of hiring teens:
1. Make sure you have a good handle on state and federal laws regarding teen employment. There are guidelines prohibiting certain types of work, as well as the number of hours. Talking with an employment attorney in Denver can help.
2. Take a good look at the Fair Labor Standards Act (also known as FLSA). This is the federal law that sets the base for minimum wage, overtime, child labor laws and record-keeping.
3. Check with the OSHA, which has small business guides to help keep you in abreast of not only proper work conditions but also updated rules and laws, depending on the industry you’re in.
4. The Department of Labor is also a good place to look (check out www.youthrules.dol.gov).
Know that for most jobs, 14 is the youngest you can hire. If it’s during the school year, 14 and 15-year-olds can’t work before 7 a.m. and not after 7 p.m. And if you’re employee is under 17, they can’t work certain hazardous jobs.
If you do find yourself unsure of whether you are on solid legal ground to hire teens at your small business, a consultation with one of our small business lawyers can help.