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Summer Work for Youth
>>AMY SUSAN: This month many kids around the state will transition from school work to summer work. Hi, I'm Amy Susan, Communications Director for the Missouri Department of Labor and I'm joined here with Mitch Volkart. He's the Assistant Director for the Division of Labor Standards within the department. On this addition of Labor Talk we will talk about the importance for parents, employers and youth to understand child labor laws and what could happen if those laws are not followed. And, Mitch, before we get into the dos and don'ts regarding child labor in the work force, I'd like to briefly talk about a recent investigation involving a grocery store. Can you tell us a little bit about that and possibly what we can learn from it?
>>MITCH VOLKART: Yes, we recently did an investigation with a grocery store, as you stated. And one of the issues we encountered was that the children were under the age of 14, so they were well under age, and the employer did not follow the--the law, as it regulates and requires things such as work certificates, personnel files, posting of the under age children etcetera.
>>AMY: What types of duties or tasks should young workers not be doing, like you said, it's posted if you have young workers there a manger should know who they are so they shouldn't be asking them to do typical duties of, say, someone that was over 18?
>>MITCH: A young worker in a grocery store would not be permitted to operate a meat grinder, per se, or to get up on a ladder or scaffold thing to stalk their top shelves or operate a fork lift in the back of the store. Those would be some things that would be prohibited from someone under age.
>>AMY: So, if it's dangerous or detrimental to the child's well-being, health or safety, or it requires them to have a driver's license, it's probably something they should stay away from?
>>AMY: Okay. How do these child labor laws play into casual work, such as babysitting?
>>MITCH: There are certain occupations that a child may do that is excluded from the definition of employment. That includes running of newspaper routes, babysitting, occasional yard or garden work in domestic capacities. Those are excluded.
>>AMY: And that would not require you to have a parent with you; you just have their consent. Is that how that works?
>>MITCH: Correct. Any child that is twelve years or older may do the newspaper route, may do the occasional yard or garden work and not have--be under the direct control of the parent.
>>AMY: They just have to have their parent's permission?
>>AMY: Okay. The next issue I would like to discuss is work hours. It's summer, kids don't have to get up early to make it to the bus or get to school, so is there a sense of leniency with the labor laws when it comes to summer time?
>>MITCH: Yes. The law does permit an extension of the work hours by two hours. During the school term a child may not work any later than 7 p.m.
>>AMY: When is the latest they can work during the summer time when school's not in session?
>>MITCH: They--they can work no later than 9 p.m.
>>AMY: Now, here in Missouri, we're really big on fairs and, again, summer time is prime fair season and a lot of kids go to fairs to visit or work. Can you tell us a little bit how child labor laws would apply to regional fairs at the state fair?
>>MITCH: Yes, they--the law does allow children at the fairs to work as late as 10:30 p.m. It's one of the exceptions to the 9 o'clock law. It they are allowed to do certain occupations within the fair that are, once again, don't impact the individuals health or safety or their general well-being.
>>AMY: Okay. So, if a family has cattle or hogs that they're showing at the fair would those laws apply to them?
>>MITCH: Well, the law applies to everyone but it doesn't prohibit them from doing that. That is an occupation that would be safe for them to do at the fair.
>>AMY: So, lastly, if a young person is interested in joining the work force, what do they need to do?
>>MITCH: Individuals entering the work force between the ages of 14 or 16, or individuals entering the entertainment industry, need to complete a work certificate or work permit and they can do so by visiting out website at labor.mo.gov which will--if you scroll to the bottom of the website, you will find a link for youth employment. It will bring you to the youth employment page. On that page on the right hand side you will find a link for work certificate and permit and that will provide you with information as to how to complete the certificate and enter into the employment field.
>>AMY: Mitch, thanks for joining us today and for working closely with employers, parents and schools to ensure young workers are safe on the job. If you're interested in taking a look at the list of acceptable work and hours for youth you can visit the link or read the brochure below this video. If you spot any safety concerns with a young person on a job please report it to our department as soon as possible. Thanks.