Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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Illinois reminds young job seekers and employers of safety guidelines

Child Labor Law provides protections for children younger than 16

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[May 15, 2012]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding students under the age of 16, employers, parents and caregivers about state labor laws that protect children in the workplace. The Illinois Child Labor Law limits the number of hours a child can work and prohibits work in hazardous environments.

"Many young teenagers across the state will start looking for summer jobs, and we want to make sure they are aware of labor laws that require adequate protections in (the) workplace," said Department of Labor Director Joseph Costigan. "Employers, parents and caregivers should familiarize themselves with the law’s requirements to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for children."

IDOL enforces the Illinois Child Labor Law, which regulates the employment of workers who are younger than 16 years old. The law requires that minors ages 14 and 15 obtain employment certificates from their local high school or school administration office. The certificate confirms that a minor is old enough to work, is physically capable of performing the job and that the job will not interfere with the minor's education.

The law prohibits work in hazardous occupations. Under the act, a few examples of hazardous occupations for children under the age of 16 are working at a construction site, working at an establishment that serves alcohol or operating machinery. The act limits working hours and requires that minors working five or more continuous hours receive a 30-minute meal period.

Under the Illinois Child Labor Law, the department is providing the following information:

Procedures for teenagers:

  • When a student finds a job, he or she will need a "letter of intent to hire" from the prospective employer. It must outline the hours the student will be working and the type of work.

  • After checking the safety of work and for any conflicts in school schedule, the school must issue an employment certificate in order for the student to work.

Procedures for employers:

  • Employers who employ 14- or 15 year-olds must require them to provide an employment certificate, which the employer must maintain on the premises.

The Illinois Child Labor Law allows children ages 14 and 15 to work during the school year:

  • Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. -- only up to three hours per school day, but not more than eight hours per day when school and work are combined.

  • Up to eight hours on a non-school day.

  • Up to 24 hours a week, but not more than six consecutive days.

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During summer break (June 1 through Labor Day), the law allows children ages 14 and 15 to work :

  • Between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., but no more than eight hours per day.

  • Up to 48 hours a week, but not more than six consecutive days.

Work of the following nature is expressly prohibited for 14- and 15-year-olds:

  • Working at establishments where liquor is served.

  • Working at gas or service stations, including the retail portion thereof.

  • Work requiring the use of power-driven machinery or contact with moving vehicles.

  • Logging and sawmill work.

  • Construction work, including demolition, repair and jobs involving the use of ladders or scaffolds.

  • Laundry, dry-cleaning or rug cleaning work.

  • Operation of amusement rides or amusement attractions.

For more information regarding Illinois’ Child Labor Law, contact IDOL at 312-793-2804. To file a child labor complaint, call the Child Labor Hotline, 1-800-645-5784, or print out a complaint form available at www.state.il.us/agency/idol.

There are several exceptions to the Child Labor Law, such as baby-sitting, yardwork and other work in private homes. Though children under the age of 14 generally are not employable, 13-year-olds can work as golf caddies, and 12- and 13-year-olds can officiate some youth sports activities.

[Text from Illinois Department of Labor file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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