HR Tips

Publish Date: May 9, 2005
Know the Standards for Employing Children Before you Hire Them.

Every summer, employers around the state, like employers around the county, are flooded with inquiries from eager young workers looking to make some extra money before returning to the classroom.  This annual bumper crop of workers offers employers with a tantalizing opportunity to train future recruits, to tackle projects not suitable for higher paid or already committed adult employees, and to revitalize the office with a little youthful optimism.  But employing children comes with some special obligations.  Consider the following restrictions imposed by Alaska law:

Alaskan youth under the age of 14 may only work in the following occupations:
1. Newspaper sales and delivery.
2. Babysitting, handiwork and domestic employment in or about private homes.
3. Occupations in the entertainment industry.

Special Restrictions (14 and 15 year olds):
When school is in session, hours will be limited to a total of nine hours of school attendance plus employment in any one day; work will be performed only between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Total hours worked will be limited to 23 in any week.*

During school vacations, work hours will be limited to 40 hours per week between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.*

(*Federal Statutes are stricter than State Statutes)

Restrictions for 14 and 15 Year Olds:
1. Occupations in manufacturing, mining or processing, including work rooms or places where goods are manufactured, mined or otherwise processed.
2. Occupations involved in operation of power-driven machinery other than office machines.
3. Occupations in construction (including demolition and repair) except office work.
4. Any work in an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages.
5. Public messenger service.
6. Occupations in or about canneries, except office work.
7. Work performed in or about boilers, engine rooms or retorts.
8. Work involved with maintenance or repair of the establishment’s machines or equipment.
9. Occupations that involve working from window sills, ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes.
10. Occupations handling or operating power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers, cutters, and bakery type mixers.
11. Work in freezers, meat coolers, or preparation of meat for sale.
12. Loading/unloading to or from trucks, railroad cars or conveyors.
13. Occupations in warehouses and storage except office and clerical work.
14. Occupations involving use of sharpened tools.
15. Occupations in transportation of persons or property except office or sales work.
16. Occupations involved in canvassing, peddling, solicitation of door-to-door contributions, or acting as an outside salesman.

Minors 17 and under cannot be employed in:
1. Occupations in manufacturing, handling or use of explosives.
2. Occupations of motor vehicle driver or helper.
3. Mining operations including coal.
4. Logging or occupations in the operations of any sawmill, lathe mill, shingle mill or cooperage.
5. Operation of power-driven woodworking machines.
6. Occupations with exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiation.
7. Operation of elevators or other power-driven hoisting apparatus.
8. Operation of power-driven metal forming, punching and shearing machines.
9. Occupations involving slaughtering, meat packing or processing or rendering.
10. Occupations involved in the operation and cleaning of power-driven bakery machines.
11. Occupations involved in the operation of power-driven paper products machines.
12. Occupations involved in the manufacture of brick, tile and kindred products.
13. Occupations involved in the operation and cleaning of circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears.
14. Occupations involved in wrecking, demolition, and shipwrecking operations.
15. Occupations involved in roofing operations.
16. Occupations involved with excavation operations.
17. Electrical work with voltages exceeding 220, or outside erection or repair and meter testing including telegraph and telephone lines.

Breaks:
An employee under 18 years of age who is scheduled to work six consecutive hours is entitled to a 30 minute break during the work day.

A youth under 18 who works five consecutive hours is entitled to a 30 minute break before continuing to work.

No minor may work more than six days in any workweek.

All minors 16 and under must have a work permit on file with the department. If the employer is licensed to sell alcohol, then all minors 16 through 18 must also have a work permit.

Written Authorization Required:
Unless you are hiring your own child to work in your own business, or unless you work in the entertainment industry (to which special regulations apply), employers may not employ anyone under the age of 17 without written authorization from the commissioner labor.  In order to obtain such permission, the work permit applicant will have to provide suitable proof of age and written permission of a parent or guardian.  It is permissible for employers to obtain advance approval from the commissioner to employ minors in clearly defined positions as long as the employer submits to the department proof of age and written parental (or guardian) consent of any minor ultimately employed.  Such submissions must be made within 7 days of hire.

Wages

Alaska minimum wage and overtime laws do not apply to part-time employees under the age of 18 who do not work more than 30 hours per week.  The federal minimum wage remains applicable.

Penalties.

Violating Alaska child labor laws is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a jail term of up to 90 days.  If the employer is part of the adult entertainment industry, the first offense is a misdemeanor and each subsequent offense is considered a Class C felony to which considerably stiffer penalties apply.

Employers are strongly advised to consult an attorney or a Human Resource advisor before hiring minor employees for the first time.


This Article Should Not Be Construed As Legal Advice.  Alaska HR Consulting Can Provide Legal Advice Only As A Part Of A Personal Consultation.