Thousands of working teens find value in work, aside from financial compensation. They develop a stronger work ethic, increased responsibility and time management skills. Research says teen employment contributes to significantly higher wages as young adults entering their 20s.
Employers also benefit from the teens’ hard work and eagerness to learn, and they can mentor and develop them into future full-time employees.
Although employment of teens provides many benefits, there is potential for serious injury and even death. Each year, nearly 100,000 youth nationwide are injured on the job requiring outside medical treatment. Teens are often injured on the job at a higher rate than adults.
Employers, teens and parents or caregivers must be all in together for increasing their awareness of laws governing child labor and ensuring all teens are working safely.
Injuries and Illnesses
- The most common injuries to minors are cuts from glass or knives, burns from hot grease or liquids, and sprains and strains from lifting. Falls on wet or slippery floors are also a common cause of injuries.
- Serious injuries and severe cuts or worse can result from use of power mixers or meat slicers, and during work on conveyors.
- Reported fatalities often involve work on construction sites and driving.
Tips for Teen Workers
- Take safety seriously and protect yourself. If there’s something you’re not sure about, ask questions.
- You have the right to work in a safe and healthful work environment.
- You have the right to refuse unsafe work tasks and conditions.
- You have the right to file complaints with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry when you feel your rights have been violated or your safety has been jeopardized. Contact Labor Standards (wage, hour, child labor issues) at 651-284-5070, 800-342-5354 or email@example.com; or Minnesota OSHA Compliance (safety and health issues)
651-284-5050, 800-342-5354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In the event of a work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to workers' compensation.
- Obtain information about workers' rights and responsibilities from school counselors and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
- Participate in training programs your employer offers. If none is offered, it never hurts to ask.
Tips for parents and caregivers of teen workers
- Talk with your teen about their job. Ask about their responsibilities and any change in tasks and equipment.
- Visit the workplace to see how it is maintained and how workers are treated.
- Be alert to warning signs, such as late hours, unsupervised workers and employee injuries.
- Take note not only of your child's tasks, but also of their coworkers. Other employees often ask their fellow employees to handle a task for them.
- Let the manager know the hours you have set for your teen to work.
- Be sensitive to a decline in grades, attendance or attention.
- Have your teen keep a record of wages received and a daily record of hours worked, including starting and end times.
View Youth rules for kids at work from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
Here are additional resources for youth safety in the workplace, tailored for Minnesota.