OK, you’re a teenager looking for a bit of extra cash. In that case, it’s time to enter the world of work! You’re going to need to look for a job.
As a young adult, you’ll likely be paid hourly rather than have a salary. And more hours mean more money, right?
Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. There are a lot of restrictions on jobs for teenagers. And when you’re at work, it’s important to stay on the right side of the law.
So, how much can a teenager work in a week?
How Old Are You?
One of the most important factors when it comes to deciding how much a teenager can work in a week is age. There isn’t a blanket rule for all teenagers. Different ages can work different numbers of hours.
You see, there’s this little matter of the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. This is what decides how many hours a minor can work. It also decides their wage as well as which job they can do.
If you’re a teenager aged 18 or 19, then congratulations! You’re no longer counted as a minor. There are no restrictions on how much you can work, so you’re free to take on all the hours you want.
For younger teenagers, it’s generally accepted that you can start working from the age of 14. If you’re younger than this, then, sorry, you might want to look for a paper route or do some lawn mowing instead.
Under 16-year-olds have the most restrictions on how much they can work. They can only do a maximum of three hours on a school day and eight hours when school is out. Plus, if it’s a school week, then they’re limited to 18 hours in total but can work up to 40 during the holidays.
Things vary for 14 and 15-year-olds due to the time of year as well. If it’s between Labor Day and the 1st of June, then they can work until 9:00 PM. Any other time of year, though, and they can only work between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.
16 and up?
It’s different for you. Usually, you can work more hours than your younger peers, around 48 hours per week during the holidays. But you have something else to think about.
Where Do You Live?
Location is all-important when it comes to how many hours a teenager can work in a week. Each state is different. And it can be tricky to keep up.
Some states put limits on anyone under 18. For others, it’s anyone under 16. And in some states, you need written consent from your parent or guardian to get a job at all.
Not sure of the laws in your state?
The U.S. Department of Labor website should help. It has clear information about maximum daily and weekly hours for a teenager. It also lets you know any restrictions on the times you can work between.
What Kind of Job Do You Want?
For most regular jobs, there aren’t too many restrictions other than those already stated. However, for agricultural, entertainment, or door-to-door sales, there are stricter laws to abide by.
If you plan to work in movies, T.V., or as part of a show, then there’s a good chance a permit will be required. You’ll probably need written permission from a parent or guardian as well. Like all child labor laws, this does vary between states, so check this section on the Department of Labor website to find the rules that apply to you.
Down on the farm…
Agriculture work probably has the strictest rules when it comes to teenage employees. Working on a farm can be dangerous, so the farmer must protect their staff. Some states take this more seriously than others, though, so take a look at this section of the Department of Labor website to find out more.
If the job is considered to be hazardous, then it’s unlikely to be legal for a minor to perform it. And there’s not a lot of wiggle room. These positions are generally only given to workers aged 18 or over.
Who’s at the door?
In most states, door-to-door sales are prohibited for anyone under the age of 16. However, like all rules governing teenage workers, this does differ based on location. The Department of Labor website contains all the information you need if you fancy selling door-to-door.
If you do end up with this job, make sure a parent or guardian knows where you are and what you’re doing! The common-sense rule of stranger danger still applies even when you’re working. Turn on your location on your phone and never enter the house of someone you don’t know.
How Much Can a Teenager Earn?
If you’re a younger teen, then there’s a good chance that we’re talking about your first job. That means you’re probably looking at minimum wage. Your state may have set their own, or they could use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Find out the minimum wage in your state by checking the Department of Labor website.
But if you’re an older teen, then you might already have experience in the workplace. And that’s a great bargaining chip when it comes to your rate of pay. Most employers expect you to negotiate, so if you have prior experience, then don’t settle for minimum wage right away.
Looking for More Super Info on Jobs for Teens?
Well, then it’s time to find out what the Best Fast Food Jobs for Teens are, Can Teens Work at Two Jobs, How to Become a Teenage Sports Referee, Good Jobs for Teens, How to Become a Teenage Survey Taker, or How to Become a Teenage Dog Walker.
And regardless of what job you’re thinking of getting, you can never be too prepared, so why not check out Hiring Squirrels: Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, Amazing Interview Answers: Tough Job Interview Questions with Winning Answers, or Get That Job!: The Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, or the excellent, How to Answer Interview Questions all are currently available online.
The STAR Method has long been proven to be very successful in interviews! So, why check out The STAR Interview: How to Land Your Dream Job, or The STAR Method Explained, used in conjunction with the STAR METHOD INTERVIEW: A Notebook designed for interview prep and as a tool for interview questions and answers to practice the technique beforehand.
Child labor laws are no laughing matter. And they can be tricky to keep track of. With so many different rules between states, it’s hard to know whether you’re doing the right thing. But they are important. As a teenager, your job shouldn’t distract you from school. These rules prevent that, as well as ensure that employers don’t take advantage of you.
It’s worth taking the time to understand fully what you can and can’t do. After all, it’s the only way you can protect yourself. It’s not worth the risk of breaking the law!
So, happy job hunting, folks!