What to Know When Hiring Teens for Restaurant Jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor has a Wage and Hour Division that provides advice and guidance to employers so they can comply with child labor provisions. Many young adults and teens have part-time jobs, but it’s important that employers comply with federal regulations.

Many teens have part-time restaurant jobs. Here are some questions that restaurants need to consider when hiring young adults under the age of 18. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be out of compliance.

  1. Will they operate or clean power-driven meat processing machines and slicers?
  2. Will they clean or operate any power-driven equipment, such as bakery machines or dough mixers?
  3. Will they operate, load or unload any compactors or balers?
  4. Will they drive any type of motor vehicle on the job?

Here are some questions that employers need to consider that relate to hiring minors.

Do any workers 16 and younger do any of the following?

  1. Cook? If yes, 14 and 15-year-olds may not cook over an open flame, but only over an electric or gas grill. They may not use pressurized fryers.
  2. Bake? Minors 16 and younger may not perform any baking duties, including weighing, mixing or assembling ingredients or operating convection or pizza ovens.
  3. Handle hot grease or oil or clean cooking equipment? If yes, 14 and 15-year-olds may do these tasks, but they cannot repair power-driven equipment. They may only perform these cleaning tasks if the equipment or liquids are below 100°F.
  4. Load or unload items from a conveyor or truck? If yes, 14 and 15-year-olds may not load or unload items from trucks, tanks, railroad cars, conveyors, boats, planes or any other types of transportation. They may, however, load into motor vehicles items that are light, non-power-driven and are personal related items, such as jackets for job sites.
  5. Working inside a meat cooler or freezer? 14 and 15-years-olds may not work in meat coolers or freezers, but they may momentarily retrieve items from them.
  6. Operate power-driven equipment? Minors may not operate, adjust, setup, repair or clean any power-driven equipment, which may include bread slicers, bagel slicers, lawnmowers, golf carts, trimmers, weed-whackers, etc. They may operate vacuum cleaners, basic office machinery, and devices that relate to serving food, such as dishwashers, popcorn poppers, toasters, coffee grinders and milkshake blenders.
  7. Work on or from ladders? Minors may not perform any work that requires scaffolds, ladders or window washing that requires working from windowsills.
  8. Work during school hours? Minors cannot work during school hours, which are determined by public schools in the area. Even if the minor is homeschooled or attends private school, they cannot be employed during the times when public school is in session. Outside of school hours is acceptable and is defined as before or after those hours, summer vacations, holidays, Saturdays or Sundays. They however, cannot be employed before 7:00 AM on any day.

The U.S. Department has many more requirements that restaurants must comply with when hiring minors and children under the age of 18 to work part-time. An excellent reference, complete with specific tests and requirements is located at https://www.youthrules.gov/for-employers/compliance/restaurant/

 

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