Can business owners in New Jersey hire people who are under 16 years old? If they can, how many hours are these minors allowed to work?
The history of the United States is filled with stories of child labor. Those stories helped to craft our modern child labor laws in an effort to protect kids from predatory businesses and unfair practices.
However, employers in New Jersey can hire workers who are under 16. The restriction is on what hours these individuals can work. That restriction changes depending on the time of year.
During the summer months, when kids do not have to go to school, they are allowed to work eight hours a day. That is the maximum, so they cannot have overtime. They are allowed to work 40 hours per week. If they have shorter daily hours, they can work a maximum of six days per week. So, with normal eight-hour days, they could only work five days before they hit that 40-hour maximum. However, they could work six-hour days for six days in a row.
When school starts back up again in the fall, though, these workers are only allowed to work for three hours every day. They can work a maximum of 18 hours per week, which is what they would hit if they worked six three-hour days.
Workers who are under 16 are also not allowed to work at night. During the school year, they can work between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. During the summer, they can work between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
It is essential for young workers to understand that they have rights. If a boss violates these rights, they need to know what legal options are open to them.