Hiring teens comes with special requirements

Hiring teens comes with special requirements Main Photo

20 Jun 2023

Labor & Industries

School is out, and for some teens that means they’ll be looking for summer jobs. As an employer, you should be aware there are certain limits on the hours they can work and the duties they can perform. 

Washington Labor & Industries (L&I) provides youth employment guidelines, which include having a minor work endorsement on your master business license. All employers hiring minors need a minor work permit, and employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance on all employees, regardless of age.

How many hours a teen can work per day and per week, plus the start and ends times for the workday vary depending on the age of the youth. 

In general, teens can work no more than eight hours per day and no more than six days per week.  Total hours worked in a week depends on the employee’s age. To get complete details, visit Hours of Work (wa.gov). The number of hours a teen can work also varies between agricultural and non-agricultural work.

Be aware that certain jobs and equipment are prohibited for anyone younger than 18 , plus there are more specific prohibited duties for those 16 and younger. Prohibited duties, like hours limits, vary depending on whether minors are working in agricultural or non-agricultural industries.

Teens are at higher risk for injuries than adults, so providing extra supervision for young workers new to the job is vital to their success. 

Once school is back in session, a student’s priority should be school, whether they’re in a classroom, learning online, or homeschooled. That’s something important for businesses to support by working with parents and schools and actively managing the hours teens work.