Each May and June, millions of teenagers begin their search for a summer job. Before hiring teens for any summertime help, it’s a good idea to be aware of the Federal and State laws governing youth in the workplace. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) youth employment provisions are designed to protect young workers by limiting the types of jobs and the number of hours they may work, based on the age of the minor. The following provisions apply to nonagricultural occupations:
18 Years of Age: Once a youth reaches 18, the Federal child labor provisions no longer apply to them — they can work any job for any number of hours. Remember that states have their own labor laws, so be sure to check your state’s work laws in non-agricultural work.
16 & 17 Years of Age: Under the FLSA 16- and 17-year olds may work on any day for any number of hours. However, individual states may limit the hours or the times of day that anyone under the age of 18 may work. Also, all youth under the age of 18 are prohibited from working any non-farm jobs deemed hazardous.
14 & 15 Years of Age: 14- and 15-year-olds may work:
- Non-school hours
- 3 hours on a school day
- 18 hours in a school week
- 8 hours on a non-school day
- 40 hours in a non-school week
- Between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (except June 1-Labor Day when hours are extended to 9 p.m.)
Alert to parents who hire their children
There’s a lot to be said for hiring family members to work in your business. Hiring your children won’t only provide them with spending money…your business may obtain a deduction for their wages as well.
Since there’s no specific exception from income tax withholding for wages you pay to family members, you’ll generally have to withhold income taxes from the wages you pay them. However, you’ll be relieved from some FICA taxes and federal (and perhaps even state) unemployment taxes, depending on the type of entity and ownership makeup.
Keep in mind, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may question the validity of wages if the recipient is on record as a young child. Unless you can provide acceptable detail such as date of birth and job responsibilities, your child may not be given credit for the correct amount of wages.
In fact, the information obtained may be given to the IRS or the Department of Justice for investigating and prosecuting violations of the Social Security Act. Matching programs compare the SSA’s records with those of other Federal, State, and local agencies, which are often used to find or prove that a person qualifies for benefits paid by the Federal government.
Rule of thumb: Put your child on the payroll only if there is a legitimate job offering with responsibilities that are within the child’s capability…and then, make sure that your child does the work!
If you are looking into hiring teens or your own children, a Padgett business advisor can help you make sure you’re following the regulations for their schedule and making the most of available tax deductions. Find a location near you today.