FAQs on Employment of Minors

By Sally Weldin, Sr. Human Resource Specialist
Published April 18, 2017

Employing minorsAround this time, many employers start reaching out to teenagers to fill temporary and seasonal summer positions. Both the Illinois and U.S. Departments of Labor regulate the employment of minors under age sixteen (“minors”), and when the regulations differ, the more restrictive requirement applies. Below are FAQs on documentation that employers should maintain when employing these workers.

What documentation is needed to verify the age of a minor?
A minor must have an employment certificate or work permit to be employed. Employers should write a “letter of intent to hire” in which they describe the work that the minor will be performing and list the hours the minor would work. The minor and a parent or guardian should submit the letter and other documents verifying the minor’s age to an employment certificate issuing agent at the minor’s school. Employers should not employ any minor under age sixteen who does not present an employment certificate. A violation of this requirement carries a penalty of fines from the Illinois Department of Labor.

What documentation is required to verify employment eligibility?
Newly hired minors must complete the Form I-9. The minor must provide a List A document or a List B document and a List C document. List B documents include a school issued ID card and a school report card or record. If a minor does not have a List B document, then he or she is only required to present a document from List C. Minors without List B documents must complete the I-9 with the assistance of a parent or legal guardian, who must then complete the Preparer and/or Translator Certification.

If you are rehiring a minor who worked for you in the prior year, you may have an I-9 that the minor completed before which is still current. If you rehire an employee within three years from the date their Form I-9 was previously completed, then the I-9 is still considered current. If the employment eligibility and documents have not changed or expired, you can use section 3 of the form to record the rehire date. If the employment eligibility documents have changed or expired, you may use Section 3 to reverify employment authorization and record the rehire date. If Section 3 has already been used and you are rehiring the minor within three years of the date of the original I-9, you should complete Section 3 of a new I-9 and attach it to the original. If the minor is rehired after three years from the date of the original I-9, you must complete a new I-9.

What hours may minors work?
Restrictions on work hours for minors differ based on whether school is in session. The following restrictions apply:

  1. When school is in session, children under the age of 16 years may work up to three hours per school day and eight hours per non-school day, not to exceed 18 hours per week, and the combined hours of school and work may not exceed eight hours per day.
  2. When school is NOT in session, children under the age of 16 may work up to eight hours per day, up to six days per week, not to exceed 40 hours per week.
  3. Allowed hours of work are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except between June 1st and Labor Day, when working hours may be extended to 9:00 p.m.

All minors should be classified as non-exempt employees, and employers must maintain accurate records of pay rate, work hours and break times.

What about meal periods for minors?
Minors who work a shift of five hours or longer must have a scheduled meal period of at least 30 minutes, and it should be provided no later than that fifth consecutive hour of work. Employers must post a schedule stating the hours of work and lunch period for minors.

In addition to the requirements above, minors may not work in occupations deemed hazardous by the Illinois and/or U.S. Department of Labor. When both Illinois child labor law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act child labor provisions cover the organization, the stricter of the two laws should be applied.

The Management Association can address your questions on Illinois child labor laws at 800-448-4584 or info@hrsource.org.

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