As summer begins and many retailers and restaurants seek to hire more staff, now is a good time for business owners and managers to refresh themselves on teen employment, the Alabama Department of Labor reminds us.
Hiring teenagers benefits the employer and employee – teens are able to develop important life skills and earn money through working, while employers are able to invest in the next generation and continue operating their businesses with the necessary number of employees.
Along with the benefits to hiring teen workers, retailers and restaurants should also understand the law and regulations around employing minors.
Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington recently said, “While teen workers are a valuable part of our economy, we also have a responsibility to ensure that they are working safely, and that employers are following applicable laws.”
Teens are eligible to begin working in the state of Alabama at age 14, but employers must obtain these documents and certificates from the Labor Department and the employee first:
- A child labor certificate. Apply for a certificate here. One certificate allows a business to employ as many teens as they need for an entire year.
- Employers should display the state’s child labor law poster in their business when employing teens. The child labor law poster is part of the state workplace poster provided to all Alabama Retail Association members. Go to alabamaretail.org/benefits/free-workplace-posters/ to learn more.
- Employees of the ages of 14 and 15 must provide an eligibility to work form signed by a school official before being hired.
- Employees 18 and younger must provide a government-issued proof of age to their employer. This can include a driver’s license, birth certificate or any other government-issued ID that contains the minor’s name and date of birth.
To ensure employers have all of the necessary information to comply with Alabama’s child labor laws, the state Labor Department requires an Employee Information Form be kept on premises. It outlines all of the recordkeeping necessary for employing teenagers.
Alabama’s child labor laws also outline what types of work Alabama teens are eligible to participate in.
Teenagers under the age of 18 are not allowed to operate industrial bakery equipment or work in slaughtering, butchering or meat cutting. Fourteen and 15-year-olds are not allowed to work where alcohol is consumed on the premises unless they are the children of the owner or operator. All other teens can only work in these establishments once they turn 16.
A complete list of prohibited work for Alabama’s minors can be found here.
As you prepare for the summer, consider hiring Alabama’s teens and choose to invest in the next generation through your business.