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Minor Employees Can be a Major Deal

With Summer fast approaching, businesses could see some new faces around the workplace. Wide-eyed, device-focused, and bundles of energy are likely to enter the job market, and with them, associated risks. Employers should familiarize themselves with the applicable laws and record-keeping requirements of underage employees.

While documentation and legal compliance may be burdensome, there are many benefits to hiring underage workers. These perks include, but are not limited to, the opportunity to groom future long-term employees, ability for permanent employees to take vacation, reduced cost of employing, and building community relationships.

Work requirements vary by state and jurisdiction. In Michigan, the Youth Employment Standards Act of 1978 details requirements for employers. Key items include:

  • Michigan has two different types of work permits based on age of the employee
  • Students are required to obtain work permits from their school district and submit to their employer before hire.  
  • Work permits must be retained for the duration of employment.
  • Students as young as 14 years old may work with appropriate authorization.
  • As teens get older, there is more freedom in the type of work they can perform.
  • Based on the student employee’s age, employers must adhere to specific restrictions on hours per day, time of day, and hours per week.
  • Keep youth employees safe and avoid restricted work activities like selling alcohol and operating power equipment.

In addition to maintaining a valid work permit, employers need to diligently track hours worked by minor employees including start, end, and break times per shift. As always, employers must comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations including proper job site postings.

For a complete listing of restricted industries and activities in the state of Michigan, along with the required postings for employers, please reference

As always, EctoHR, Inc. is here to help with your human resource needs. For assistance on hiring minors or other HR matters, please call 810-534-0170 or email

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