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Parents should take active role in their teens’ summer employment decisions


When school is out for the summer, many young teens will be taking summer jobs — some for the first time — and parents should be involved in their children’s employment decisions, said a University of Missouri safety specialist.

“Take an active role in employment decisions of your children,” said Karen Funkenbusch. “Know where your teens are working, who they are working for and what they are required to do.”

According to Funkenbusch, you should check regularly with your teen to make sure everything is going okay. Discuss any problems they might be having. Be sure they have the proper training and supervision. Also, watch for signs that the job might be causing too much physical or mental strain.

Safety is a major concern. Teenagers may not be aware of their rights, or their employers may not be aware of child labor laws.

Be sure to know the federal and state child labor laws for the area in which you live. Federal law limits the number of hours that 14- and 15-year-olds can work in non-agricultural worksites.

During the summer, federal law allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. They are banned from such jobs as baking or cooking, operating power-driven machinery including lawn mowers, climbing ladders, working in warehouses or in construction, unloading trucks or conveyors, or jobs that require climbing ladders.

Federal law also prohibits non-agricultural workers under 18 from operating forklifts or many types of power equipment such as meat slicers, power saws and bakery machinery.

By contrast, youth may be employed at any time in any occupation in agriculture on a farm owned or operated by their parent or guardian.

“But here again, parents should make sure that all safety precautions are followed. Statistics show that agriculture is one of the more dangerous occupations,” Funkenbusch said. “Each year more than 20 million youths under the age of 20 are exposed to farm safety hazards.”


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Last Updated 05/26/2015