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The Inside Scoop on Utah Child Labor Laws

November 30, 2017 By Inken Christensen

This post was originally published June 28, 2012 and extensively updated November 29, 2017.

Now that it is summer, many employers may be considering hiring minors to help in their business. This can be a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

 

What are the Benefits of Hiring Minors in Utah?

Summer employment is a great opportunity for teenagers to gain responsibility and learn a trade. Many are eager to learn and make money. Some may even stay on or look for part-time employment during after school hours.

For the employer, hiring minors can be a great advantage too. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Teens don’t need the benefits that older employees expect. They are typically covered by their parent’s insurance. Plus it’s often just a summer or part-time job so you won’t have to pay them sick leave or vacation.
  • New Perspective. The next generation can offer a fresh perspective. They may look at the world today in a very different way than you do. Yes, we can learn from this generation!
  • They’re often easy to train. Teens are sharp and eager to learn.
  • They may one day become a full-time employee. Many teens that start working a part-time summer job will stick with it. That could mean your busboy will one day be your Maitre D’.
  • You may be able to pay them less than you would an adult. Grown ups have more bills to pay than teens. Please note the minimum wage considerations listed below.

It is important to keep in mind that there are specific Utah child labor laws that apply to the employment of employees under the age of 18.  These laws are in place to minimize the possibility of minors being exploited or put in dangerous situations. 

In Utah, these rules are outlined in Utah Code Ann. §34-23-1, the Employment of Minors Law. Before you start hiring, you’ll want to get up to speed on US Child Labor Laws, and those specific to Utah.

 

Minimum Age to Work in Utah

The legal age to work in Utah is 14. Utah child labor laws state that 14-year olds can work non-hazardous jobs like retail sales, restaurant work, or office work. 

However, children under the age of 14 can work newspaper routes, lawn care, and babysitting jobs.

Many states require minors to have a work permit. Work permits are not required for minors working in Utah, but the employer is obligated to verify the minor meets the age requirements. 

Utah child laboring laws state that minors of any age are not allowed to work in 17 occupations that have been deemed by the State of Utah as hazardous including the operation of most power-driven machinery, any involvement with explosives or radioactive substances, meat processing, excavation, roofing, demolition, mining, logging, or manufacturing of tile or brick.

 

How Many Hours Can a Minor Work in Utah?

Utah child labor laws says that minors under the age of 16 are allowed to work with certain restrictions. In the summertime, when school is not in session, fourteen and fifteen-year-olds can work up to 8 hours a day and can work up to 40 hours per week.  

Fourteen and Fifteen-year-olds cannot work between 9:30 pm and 5:00 am

During the school year, work hours are reduced to three hours on school days. They can work up to 8 hours on the weekend days. Once a minor turns 16, the time restrictions no longer apply. 

Working Hours for Minors

  • Working hours for 13-year old – Can work a couple hours a week on jobs like newspaper routes, babysitting, and lawn care.
  • Working hours for 14-year old – May not work more than three hours on a school day, cannot work past 7 PM from Labor Day to June 1, and cannot work past 9 PM from June 1 to Labor Day. May not work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
  • Working hours for 15-year old – May not work more than three hours on a school day, cannot work past 7 PM from Labor Day to June 1, and cannot work past 9 PM from June 1 to Labor Day. May not work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
  • Working hours for 16-year old – May work four hours on a school day and until 9:30 PM year-round (unless the next day is not a school day in which they can work after 9:30 PM). May not work more than 4 days a week.
  • Working hours for 17-year old – May work four hours on a school day and until 9:30 PM year-round (unless the next day is not a school day in which they can work after 9:30 PM). May not work more than 4 days a week.

 

Additional Considerations When Hiring Minors in Utah

Minimum Wage

Employers must comply with Utah’s current minimum wage.  The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. According to the Utah Labor Commission, Minors under the age of 18 must be paid the minimum wage in effect at the time, although employers may pay them $4.25 during the first 90 days of their employment.

Tipped employees (adults and minors) may be paid $2.13 per hour so long as the tips they earn bring them up to the minimum wage.

Meals and Breaks

The Utah Dept of Labor states that employers are required to provide a 30-minute meal break for all minors within five hours of the start of their workday.  Utah labor laws also require employers to provide minors with a 10-minute break for every three hours worked.

Paperwork

Of course, you’ll have to do new hire paperwork and reporting, and don’t forget to educate your new hire on your company policies and procedures.

 

Differences Between Utah Child Labor Laws and Adult

  14-15 year olds 16-17 year olds Adult
# of hours worked per week 18 hours a week while school is in session; 40 hours per week if school is not in session 8-40 hours per week 40 hours per week
Night work restrictions 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. before school day

9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. before school day

None
Work permits needed? No No No
Meals Entitled to a 30-minute meal break no later than 5 hours after their shift Entitled to a 30-minute meal break no later than 5 hours after their shift Not required
Breaks 10 minute break every 3 hours 10 minute break every 3 hours Not required
Wages At least minimum wage At least minimum wage At least minimum wage

 

Conclusion

There are exceptions to the work hour rules and the type of work performed for agricultural employers and businesses that are solely owned by the minor’s parents.  Business owners need to review the laws and the individual situation and follow the requirements accordingly.  The child labor laws are complicated in all states.  It is imperative to follow both state and federal laws.  If the state and federal laws differ, the most stringent law providing the most protection for the minor applies.

If you have questions about applying these laws to your particular situation, contact Cook Martin Poulson, PC.

Need Help? Let's Talk. Schedule Your Free Consultation Right Now.

 

Inken Christensen

Inken Christensen

Inken Christensen has been employed by Cook Martin Poulson for 24 years and has worked with some of her clients since her first day.

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