Scheduling Minors and Seniors using Age Rules

Diverse young employees smiling for a picture.

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When minors are employed, both federal and state labor laws affect the number of hours they can work, as well as how much they can be paid. These restrictions exist to ensure that young workers remain safe while on the job, and that their education is not compromised by long working hours.

In this post, we’ll explain the importance of scheduling minors correctly. We’ll also teach you how to comply easily with regulations at both the federal and state level.

Scheduling minors shouldn’t have to be a time-consuming or tricky affair.

Ultimately, we want to make sure employers are aware of the laws and regulations concerning the hiring of minors in their state so that they can avoid any potential fines or penalties.

A young woman preparing pizzas for a pizzeria.

Why employers should adhere to the laws when scheduling minors

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) puts limits on when minors can work and how many hours a week they may work depending on their age. One goal of this is to prevent minors from being scheduled to work while school is in session.

Additionally, employers must pay employees under 18 years old at least minimum wage or higher. Furthermore, states may have additional regulations regarding child labor that employers must follow in order to stay compliant with the law.

Employers can get in trouble for employing minors if they don’t adhere to the rules.

A young person preparing takeout

For example, if an employer in the United States employs any worker under age 18 for more than 4 hours per day or 20 hours per week, they are required to follow the FLSA guidelines. If they don’t follow the FLSA guidelines, they can receive heavy fines.

In 2022, a Wendy’s franchisee paid $15,000 in penalties. In 2020, Chipotle paid far more.

It’s not just the federal laws businesses have to worry about. Employers can also be faced with legal action if they don’t adhere to local state laws concerning the employment of minors. For example, some states have laws that require certain paperwork for any employee under 16 years old.

Therefore, following both federal and local age rules is essential to ensure compliance and avoid any legal repercussions.

Beware Department of Labor audits

The penalties for child labor law violations are more severe than other types of violations. If the violation is willful, the penalty can exceed $10,000 per minor employee affected. If it results in serious injury or death, the maximum fine is much higher – over $60,000. And that’s to say nothing of the bad publicity that can occur in response to such misconduct.

Employers who break the law repeatedly may be fined up to $120,230 and may be subject to imprisonment. 

How to make it easy to comply with federal and state regulations

The Age Rule page in TimeForge makes it easy to comply with age rules. Employers can set different rules for each age group, enabling them to easily distinguish between senior citizens, adults, and minors in the system.

For example, an employer in the United States could use Age Rules in TimeForge to automatically limit the hours that minors work and set higher wages for them than other employees. They can also use Age Rules to ensure that minors are not scheduled for more than 4 hours at a time or 20 hours per week.

How Age Rules work in TimeForge

Using TimeForge’s Age Rules, you and your Human Resources department can easily build age-specific policies, specifying when employees can, or cannot, work. The TimeForge system will automatically take these rules into account when building schedules.

a screenshot of the TimeForge age rules module

Some of the rules that can be specified include:

  • minimum or maximum scheduled hours per week, such as “Maximum of 40 hours per week”
  • minimum or maximum scheduled shifts per week, such as “No fewer than 2 shifts per week”
  • minimum or maximum scheduled shifts per day, such as “No doubles”

Additionally, rules include availability requests that can be specified on a calendar, just like TimeForge employee requests.

To access the Age Rules, log into TimeForge. Choose the “Employees” tab, then click on “Age Rules.”

Additional tips for using Age Rules in TimeForge

Age Rules set in TimeForge can be used to define corporate-wide standards for scheduling employees. For example, you can define rules for minors you employ, another rule for employees aged 18-65, and a final rule for senior citizens.

Young people at a burger joint receiving their food as customers rather than serving it as employees.

You can have as many age rules in TimeForge as you need. For example, the rules for scheduling minors who are 14 – 15 may be different than the rules for scheduling 16 and 17-year-old minors. In this case, TimeForge will allow you to define two separate groups of age rules to schedule your employees.

You can also set rules to work around school calendars and other important dates, such as exam weeks when students are likely to need the time to study.

Examples of age rules you can set in TimeForge include:

  • Employees from ages 18 to 65 can work 8-hour shifts, up to 40 hours per week
  • Employees between the ages of 15 to 17 can work no more than 5 hours per day, up to 25 hours per week
  • Older adults over age 65 cannot work more than 4-hour shifts, and cannot work on weekends

To prove compliance with the law, you can use TimeForge to generate accurate reports based on the age rules you’ve set. You can then print out or email these reports as needed. This will help your business remain compliant with labor laws and avoid fines.

4 Tips for scheduling minors during busy seasons

Minors are an important source of help for many retail and hospitality businesses. This is especially true during busy seasons and holidays, when extra hands are needed.

Below are 4 tips to help employers schedule minors during busy seasons, using Independence Day as an example:

Tip #1: Make sure you’re up-to-date on the local and state laws

“Companies that employ minors will need to follow some specific rules for those employees,” says Daniel, our Senior Software Engineer. “TimeForge has features that can help managers schedule minors according to the rules. However, the first step is to make sure management is aware of them.”

Keep in mind that the rules can vary depending on the age of the minor and the type of work. Check the DoL’s Youth Labor page for details and resources, including industry-specific guidelines. You can also find a list of federal and state laws here.

Tip #2: Use employee availability and min/max hours settings in TimeForge

“One of the easiest ways to maintain compliance while scheduling minors is through the employee’s availability,” says Mike Hetisimer, our Implementations Specialist. “This will ensure they don’t work during certain hours or on certain days.

Additionally, in the employee profile, you can define the minimum and maximum hours they’re allowed to work each day, week, or month. Setting these limits is a great way to ensure employees aren’t scheduled more than a certain amount of hours on a given day of week.”

To set these limits, navigate to the Basic Employee Information section under the Employee tab:

employee information
Screenshot of an example employee profile showing fields where daily, weekly, and monthly limits can be set.

Tip #3: Plan ahead and incorporate the rules when scheduling minors

Audrey Hogan, our Chief Operating Officer, says, “The 4th of July can be really crazy for some restaurants and especially grocers. Like any peak sales day, it’s important to plan employee availability and time off well ahead of time.” This will help you avoid last-minute pitfalls.

“If your minors are going to help fulfill customer demand on Independence Day, it’s critical that you have Minors Rules set up inside TimeForge.

The Rules will ensure that you’re compliant with your local and state guidance on employees who fit age restriction requirements around hours and shifts. There are two different ways to configure the Rules, so let our support team help you if you get stuck!”

To begin, see our guide to creating and modifying Age Rules.

Tip #4: Be aware of important school dates

Erik van Gilder, our Chief Technology Officer, points out, “Rules on hiring minors usually revolve around school, so check with the local school district for dates for when school is in session.

Often, state and local regulations set the hours that minors can work to a limited number of hours between a defined set of times. Normally, minors cannot work night-time hours. And when school is in session, the hours are more limited.” But things can get even more complicated!

“Hours may differ when the day is before a school day versus non-school day,” says Erik. “Plan ahead for when school starts. If a minor is in a vocational track, the hours may be less restricted if the work is training-related. The employee and employer can benefit from exemptions in certain cases.”

Again, don’t forget to check this page, which lists laws by state. Then, make sure to drill down to the local level. If you need any help at all, please don’t

If you have any questions about how our Age Rules can help your organization manage underage employees in the workforce, please let us know. We are always happy to answer any questions!

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