During the summer, teenagers may be a good resource pool for employers looking to fill temporary work positions. Recreational parks, lakes, swimming pools, and other facilities that cater to people in warmer weather often hire teenagers as lifeguards or to work in concession stands. However, employer must be aware that individuals under the age of 18 are subject to different New York employment laws. Employers must also adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act that governs child labor nationwide.
The New York State Department of Labor requires minors (youth under age 18) to obtain employment certificates, sometimes referred to as working papers. Minors who work for their parents and who do industrial homework must also obtain employment certificates. Different types of employment certificates apply, such as:
- AT-18 certificates are for youth from the ages 14 to 15. They cannot work in factory or construction environments or handle machinery or chemical processes.
- AT-19 certificates are for youth from ages 16 to 17. This older age group has fewer limitations and may work in a factory but not handling certain machinery.
- AT-20 certificates are for 16 and 17 year olds who apply for fulltime work during vacation or who are leaving school.
- AT-23 is a special type of working certificate for children from ages 11 through 17 who work as newspaper carriers. They must follow the schedule rules, which limit working hours to four hours during a school day and five hours on a non-school day. Other restrictions also apply.
As an employer, you need to comply with working certificates and other New York and federal employment laws or you could be subject to law enforcement actions. Check with your New York employment discrimination lawyer and ensure your employment practices are up-to-date.