Youth Employees, Veterans and Part-Time Employees
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Hiring Teenagers and Children
Legislators have passed federal, state and local laws to protect employees who are teenagers or children. For example, children and teenagers can usually be employed only during hours that don’t conflict with school, and their total weekly work hours are generally restricted. Additionally, employers must take every precaution to protect younger employees from such threats as sexual harassment on the job.
The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the minimum age for employment (14 years for non-agricultural jobs), restricts the hours when employees under the age of 16 may work and prohibits people under the age of 18 from being employed in hazardous occupations. States also set standards for employing people younger than 18. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to youth workers will apply.
The Labor Department provides information about non-farm workers under age 18 that addresses such issues as:
- The specific hours of the day and during which months of the year youth workers can be employed, with reference to both federal and state laws;
- The maximum daily and weekly hours that can be worked, based on age;
- Special considerations for students age 14 and 15 who are enrolled in approved work experience and career exploration programs.
To learn more about how our government protects youth workers, visit these Labor Department links.
Since the Civil War, veterans have been given hiring preference for federal jobs. Private employers need not give hiring preference to veterans unless the employer meets certain guidelines and receives work under specific types of federal government contracts.
Each year, the Military Times conducts a survey and compiles a list of the Best Employers for Veterans.
Additional rights are granted to those who have recently returned from military service and are seeking to be re-employed in their former jobs. These individuals are covered by the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act. This act addresses such privileges as:
- The right to be free from any form of retaliation or discrimination
- The right (if eligible) to be “restored to the [same] job [or a comparable one] and the benefits [the veteran or returning employee] would have attained if … [the veteran] had not been absent due to military service”
- The right to have the Labor Department’s Veterans Employment and Training Service investigate any complaints under this act
However, the act clearly states that veterans’ rights under this act are enforceable only if the veteran:
- Provides the prior employer with all of the proper paperwork in a timely manner
- Promptly seeks to return to his or her former job
- Was discharged from the service under honorable conditions
Veterans are entitled to other privileges as well. For example, the Family Medical Leave Act’s 2008 amendment provides longer periods of leave — up to 26 weeks — for disabled veterans.
Hiring Part-Time Workers
The Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t specifically address part-time workers. Certain employees hired under federal law, however, may have their part-time wages determined under the Davis-Bacon and related acts.
Private employers should consult with an employment law attorney to determine if state statutes require specific wages or benefits for part-time employees if the federal law does not specify.