Smells Like Teen Spirit? Be Careful Employing Minors.

Kegler Brown E-mployment Alert

With the summer months approaching and the weather starting to turn, many employers are considering expanding their workforce by hiring minors to fill positions. While there are many advantages to hiring minors, employers must be aware of the Federal and State regulations that specifically govern the employment of minors. For example, Federal Law prohibits employing anyone below the age of 14. Additionally, in Ohio, employers are required to have minor wage agreements, which must be in writing, that specify the amount of pay the minor is to receive, note the frequency of the pay and are signed by the minor. Below are some of the other requirements:

Limitations on Occupations & Activities

While it may seem like common sense not to have a 16-year-old storing explosives or manufacturing chemicals, it may surprise you that minors also cannot work in slaughtering or meat-packing operations; work in a coal mine; work in roofing; or operate a meat slicer.

In addition, minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from all manufacturing jobs; working in freezers and meat coolers; working in boiler or engine rooms; loading and unloading delivery trucks; and all warehouse work, except for clerical jobs. Minors under the age of 16 also may not cook on a grill that has an open flame; perform any baking; use a deep fryer basket that must be manually raised or lowered; use a rotisserie, broiler, pressurized equipment (including fryolaters or cooking devices that operate at extremely high temperatures); clean equipment when the surface is hotter than 100ºF; or filter or dispose of cooking oil or grease that is hotter than 100ºF.


Minors aged 17 years or older are permitted to drive in the course of their employment only when such driving is “incidental and occasional” to their employment (occurring 20% of the time or less), provided that additional restrictions are met (i.e., driving must be limited to daylight hours; car must have seatbelts; teen must have a record clear of driving violations, etc…).

Hour & Break Requirements for Minors

Break Requirements for All Minors

All employees under the age of 18 are required to have a 30-minute break every five hours.

Employees Under 16

Employees under 16 are prohibited from working before 7:00 a.m. at any time. From June 1 through September 1, employees under 16 are permitted to work until 9:00 p.m. Most other times they must be finished by 7:00 p.m. During the summer, minors under 16 cannot work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week (with some very limited exceptions).

Hour Restrictions for Employees Age 16 and 17

Minors who are 16 or 17 years old have no hour restrictions during the summer. When school is in session, employees who are 16 and 17 years old are generally prohibited from working before 7:00 a.m. If the minor did not work past 8:00 p.m. the previous night, they may begin work at 6:00 a.m.

During the school year, 16- or 17-year-old employees cannot work past 11:00 p.m. on a school night.