Know Your Workers’ Rights

Written by Charley Harp

In high school, many students will get their first job. While it can be super exciting for them to have their own money and a reliable source of income, it is very important for them to know their rights as a worker, especially if when under aged. 

In terms of hours, 14 to 15 year olds are limited to 18 hours of work per week during the school year, and they cannot work more than three hours on school days or more than 8 hours on days with no school. They also can only work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and cannot be scheduled to work during the school day. 

With 16 to 17 year olds, their work week cannot exceed 30 hours without a special letter of exemption by their parents or school which then allows them to work up to 40 hours a week. Additionally, minors of this age cannot work over six hours during the school day or eight hours on non school days. They also have a curfew of 10:30 p.m. on school nights. Minors of any age are also unconditionally entitled to a break of thirty minutes after five hours of work. 

Minors should always make sure to be firm with an employer on the hours that they are able to work. Knowing their rights as a worker protects them from being taken advantage of and makes sure that they will also be able to focus on school as well as their work. If they feel like those rights are being infringed upon, they should file a complaint report at www.labor.ky.gov and stand up for themselves!

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