For many kids (including my own), today marks the first day back to school. While that may seem like “child labor” to them, that term obviously means something different.

What some employers fail to realize is that the start of school also means the start of limits to on what high school students can do at work. I’ve talked about child labor laws in some prior posts, but here are three things every employer should know.

1) Employers are limited in the hours that they can require 16 and 17 year-old employees to work.  The specific rules are available at the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website, but in general, students must stop working around 10 or 11 p.m. (depending on the industry) and are limited to 32 hours per week.

2) For 14 and 15-year-olds, there are even tighter restrictions.  Typically, the hours are limited to non-school hours before 7 p.m. In addition, there is a limit on 3 hours per day and 18 hours per week for the workers as well.

3) Even beyond that, employers are obligated to get a copy of that student’s working papers (typically from the high school) and must verify the minor’s age as well. A complete checklist is available here. 

There’s more, of course, to these child labor rules.  Hiring teenagers is a great way to give them real-life work experienced. But before you do so, understand the child labor rules that are involved.