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Start Planning Now For Hiring Summer Teens

Many teenagers will soon look for summer jobs. While hiring minors (those under 18 years old) can be a great way to get part-time help and give back to the community, there are state and federal law requirements for youth employment.

Children of any age in North Carolina are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under 16 may not be employed in mining or manufacturing, and no one under 18 may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous or the Commissioner of Labor has declared to be detrimental (see list at bottom).

Youths under the age of 18 who work in North Carolina must have a Youth Employment Certificate.

Work is generally not permitted for youths under 14 years of age except when working for the youth’s parents, newspaper delivery, or in modeling or acting in a movie or theater production.

Youths 14-15 may work in retail businesses, food service establishments, service stations, and offices of other businesses. Work is not permitted in manufacturing, mining, construction sites, with power-driven machinery, on the premise of a business holding an ABC permit for the on-premises sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages, or in hazardous or detrimental occupations. They can work between 7 am and 7 pm during the school year and until 9 pm during the summer.

Additional rules for 14- and 15-year-olds include:

· Maximum hours per day: Three on school days; eight if a non-school day.

· Maximum hours per week: 18 when school is in session; 40 when school is not in session.

· Breaks: 30-minute breaks are required after any period of five consecutive hours of work.

Youths 16 and 17 may not work between 11 pm and 5 am when there is school the next day unless the employer gets written permission from the youth’s parents and principal.

These state youth employment provisions do not apply to farm, domestic or government work.

Although the list of hazardous and detrimental occupations is quite long, here are some jobs that minor employees cannot perform under NC law:


· Mining

· Logging

· Operating power-driven machines or equipment

· Operating a motor vehicle

· Outside helper on motor vehicles

· Working with radioactive materials

· Meat packaging

· Manufacturing brick or tile

· Working with power saws

· Demolition

· Roofing

· Welding, brazing, and torch cutting

· Excavation

· Exposure to lead, benzene, asbestos, or silicon dioxide

· Work on machinery in canneries or seafood or poultry processing plants

· Ladders or scaffold above 10 feet

· Electrician work

· Any work in confined spaces

· Occupations requiring the use of respirators

· Preparing, serving or selling alcoholic beverages


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