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A Better Partnership


Jun 2014
June 09, 2014

Hiring Minors in Michigan Can be Good for Business – If You Follow the Rules

As the school year comes to a close businesses often hire vacationing high school students to supplement the workforce. That makes this an ideal time to review some basic but highly important rules that apply to employing minors.

Make Sure You Obtain and Maintain Work Permits

The Youth Employment Standards Act requires an employer to obtain, and maintain on file at the place of employment, a copy of a work permit issued by a designated official at the school district, public school academy or non-public school at which the minor is enrolled. A minor is defined as a person under 18 years of age.  A minor must be at least 14 years old to obtain a work permit with a very narrow range of non-industrial exceptions, which include permitting an individual to work as a golf caddy at the age of 11 and employment in farming operations at the age of 13.  The employer must return the permit to the school district at the conclusion of the minor’s employment. 

Hours A Minor Can Work Hinges On Age 

Section 110 of the Youth Employment Standards Act specifies the hours during which a minor is able to work and limits the workday and workweek for minors under the age of 16. A 14 or 15 year old may not work more than six days in one week or more than 48 hours in one week.  Additionally, a minor under the age of 16 cannot work more than 10 hours per day. The hours during which those 15 years or younger may work are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  A minor attending school is limited to a combined school/workweek of 48 hours while school is in session. Some limitations in hours also exist for 16 and 17 year old employees.  


Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws penalize the employer if a minor sustains a work injury and the employer failed to comply with the Youth Employment Standards Act. As you would expect, Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws do not exempt minors from workers’ compensation coverage. In fact, the statute penalizes an employer when a minor is injured and the employer failed to follow rules regarding a work permit and work hours.

Failure to comply with the Youth Employment Standards Act constitutes illegal employment and invokes the double compensation provision. Significantly, a workers’ compensation carrier can require reimbursement from the employer if the employment is deemed illegal.

A prudent practice for employers utilizing the services of minors is to review statutes and assess compliance on an annual basis.

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