Teen Labor Laws in Michigan

By Chelsea Levinson - Updated July 23, 2018

Michigan child labor laws protect minors and ensure that they can focus on education above all else. This is why work permits are required for all minors, and why they are issued through school districts. While it may seem daunting to navigate Michigan’s labor laws, they’re actually quite simple, when broken down.

Required Work Permits

Michigan child labor laws require that all minors obtain work permits, also called employment certificates, in order to find work. This is because minors are supposed to focus on schooling, and only those in good educational standing are permitted to work. Work permits are issued by school districts and must be shown to the employer prior to accepting a job. Generally, a minor must be at least 14 to obtain a work permit; however, a few exceptions exist for minors as young as 11, such as for golf caddying and refereeing children's sports games.

There are also a few limited exceptions to work permit requirements for older teens. For example, a minor over the age of 16 can get a job without a permit if she has completed the requirements for high school graduation or an equivalent degree. The certificate must be presented to the employer before the minor can accept a job. Further, if a 17-year-old passes the GED exam, she can show her certificate to an employer and obtain a job without a work permit.

Note that minors must always be supervised by an adult at work and should never work at hazardous jobs.

Minimum Wage in Michigan For Minors

The minimum wage in Michigan for minors 17 and under is 85 percent of the state minimum wage. As of 2018, this amounts to $7.86 per hour. Workers 18 and over are paid $9.25 per hour. Further, any worker under 20 years of age can be paid $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment. This is called a training hourly wage.

For example, the minimum wage for 15-year-olds in Michigan would consist of a 90-day period at the $4.25 training hourly wage, followed by an hourly wage of $7.86. An 18-year-old would make the $4.25 training hourly wage for 90 days, followed by the state minimum wage of $9.25 per hour.

Work Hours for Minors in Michigan

Work hours for minors in Michigan vary depending on the age of the child. Minors that are 14 and 15 can work only between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Meanwhile, 16 and 17-year-olds can work only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., except on Fridays, Saturdays and school breaks, when they can work until 11:30 p.m.

Minors cannot work more than six days in a week. They cannot work more than an average of eight hours per day, or more than 10 hours per day while school is in session. Further, their combined school and work hours cannot exceed 48 hours in a week.

About the Author

Chelsea Levinson earned her J.D. from Cardozo. As a former policy researcher, she has a passion for communicating legal issues to the public. She has created legal and policy content for Vox, Levo, Run For Something and more.

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