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The Government Center: Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities
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Knowing Your Rights at Work

There are federal and state restrictions on what teens can do at work. Some of these have to do with what hours of the day you can work and others are about the kind of work you are and are not allowed to do. The main law involved with work issues is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (some people call it the Wage and Hour Law). This law says when you can and can’t work and also outlines some of the hazardous work teens aren’t allowed to do. Under this federal law, people between 14 and 16 can’t work more than 3 hours on a school day and only 18 hours in a school week. If you are between 14 and 16, you can’t work after 7 p.m. during the school year either. This is because people assume that young teens should be focusing most of their time and energy on school, not on earning money.

For more information about how much money you can earn, your state’s minimum wage laws, and issues like drug testing in the workplace, you can always contact your state’s Department of Labor. You can do that through the Internet, the local telephone book, or by visiting your library. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with these laws before you get a job, because then you know what to expect when you start working!

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Last updated on June 30, 2015

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition University of Minnesota IDEAs That Work - Office of Special Education Programs

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