Teenagers are full of life. They bring energy and adaptability that may be hard to get from older workers, but does that mean that hiring teens is beneficial? Well, it depends. As you debate whether or not you should integrate teenagers into your workforce, there are some things that you should know first.
Is Hiring a Teen Beneficial?
Despite their lack of experience and skills, hiring a teen in your place of work is highly beneficial for three reasons. First and foremost, you can hire labor for less money and fewer benefits. So, if you are stuck in a financial bind or just starting your small business, this is the best way to get cheap labor.
Another thing to consider is that there are certain times of the year when business picks up – the holiday season, summer, etc. These times coincide with school breaks, and many teens want to take advantage of extra opportunities to earn money. This is good for business because hiring teens allows you to scale for business needs and take advantage of seasonal hiring.
Lastly, depending on your industry, you may set yourself up with a long-term employee. As of last year, 61.8%of high school students in the US enrolled in college. This leaves under 40% of former high school students heading straight into the workforce, trade school, or the military. So, hiring teens and investing in them early could give them an extra option to pursue once graduation is over.
What are the 3 Things to Consider?
While the pros of hiring teens can often outweigh the cons, it is also necessary to consider the legal side. Ignoring laws and statutes surrounding youth employees could result in hefty fines, which would be counterproductive. So, here are three legal aspects to consider when integrating young workers into your workforce.
State Child Labor Laws
When hiring teens, you must be aware of your state’s child labor laws, especially if the teen is under 18 years old. Child labor laws address topics such as age, wage, and hour restrictions. Some states even require a permit to hire and work with teens.
FSLA Wage and Hour Regulations
As an employer, you are likely aware of FSLA (Fair Labor Standards Act) laws. For teens specifically, the FSLA guide determines how many hours and what kinds of jobs teens are allowed to work based on their age. The minimum age for employment in most instances is 14; however, some exceptions enable the age requirement to be more flexible.
When it comes to a teen’s pay scale, you must know your federal and state requirements. Generally, the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. However, the FSLA allows different provisions for youth employees. Employers can pay youth workers $4.25/hour for the first 90 days of employment. After the 90-day probationary period, the FSLA requires employers to pay anything above $4.25/hour. Remember that state laws can override federal laws, so it is essential to know both.
Health and Safety Requirements
The OHSA currently does not have any specific regulations regarding teenage workers, but it does specify what jobs are deemed too hazardous based on age. Whether your company is part of the agricultural or nonagricultural industry, you should review those policies to ensure you don’t have youth workers performing illegal tasks. At the end of the day, your job is to make sure the work environment is a safe, healthy place of work, especially for your teenage employees.
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