In the state of Michigan, minors under 18 years of age are subject to restrictions on how many hours they can work and when they can work during the course of a day or a week. These restrictions depend on their age, their occupational duties and if school is in session.
Can Minors Work in Michigan?
Children who wish to work in Michigan must be at least 14 years old, unless they are exempted under the Youth Employment Standards Act. This state law defines minors as those under 18 years old who are employees, independent contractors, performing artists or volunteers.
Minors must have a work permit, contract or written agreement between themselves, an employer, and their school district or school before starting to work. They can only work in jobs that aren't hazardous.
Exclusions From Minor Work Restrictions
The Act does not cover these individuals:
- Sixteen and 17-year-olds who have completed their high school graduation.
- Seventeen-year-olds with a GED.
- Emancipated minors and married minors.
- Students at least 14 years old, who work under a work-study contract with an employer and under the supervision of their school district.
- Private residence domestic workers.
- Minors who sell or distribute advertising material, magazines, newspapers, periodicals or political materials.
- Shoe shiners.
- Youth organization members, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or 4-H members that perform fundraising work.
- Minors who work in businesses their parents own and operate.
- Agricultural workers or those who raise livestock on farms.
- Minors aged 14 to 17 working in a school where they are a student.
Hours a Minor Can Work in Michigan
The state restricts a minor's work to certain hours each day and each week depending on their age and whether or not school is in session. They cannot work more than five hours a day without a 30-minute break or spend more than 48 hours a week on work and school combined. These restrictions also apply:
- Minors cannot work more than six days a week.
- Fourteen and 15-year-olds cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Fourteen and 15-year-olds cannot work during school hours.
- Minors 16 to 18 cannot work before 6 a.m. or after 10: 30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
- Minors 16 to 18 cannot work before 6 a.m. or after 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, during vacation, and when school is not in session.
- Minors cannot work more than 10 hours a day, with a weekly average of eight hours daily.
Sixteen and 17-year-olds can request approval from the Wage and Hour Division to work beyond these hours. However, the agency does not allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work longer hours.
Work Permit for Employment of Minors in Michigan
Minors can obtain work permits from an issuing officer at the school they attend or from the school district location of their employment. If they switch jobs, they must apply for a new permit.
Even if a minor does not physically attend a school and is home-schooled, is otherwise virtually learning, or is an out-of-state resident, they still need a work permit to work in Michigan. If the minor's academic performance suffers as a result of getting a job, they can lose their work permit.
An employer must complete the first part of the work permit with the minor's name, occupation and wage. The minor completes the second part of the permit and takes it to school for an issuing officer to finalize and approve. The minor then gives their employer the work permit, who will keep it on file.
Types of Jobs for Minors
Michigan child labor law also restricts the types of jobs that minors can do, which cannot be anything hazardous. However, 16- and 17-year-old minors can seek special approval to work these jobs through through the state Wage and Hour Division. Examples of hazardous work include jobs:
- In contact with chemicals, explosives, or radioactive substances.
- Working and driving as an outside helper.
- Working in logging and the sawmill industry.
- Working with woodworking machinery.
- Brazing, heat treating, soldering or welding for workers younger than 16.
- Working on excavation or construction sites and bridges, highways or streets.
- Butchering, slaughtering and meat cutting.
- Using power-driven equipment, such as saws, tools or other machinery.
Minors aged 14 to 17 can work in establishments that serve alcoholic beverages as long as food or other non-alcoholic goods are a minimum of 50 percent of the business' gross sales. Minors cannot furnish, sell or serve alcohol.
There are also particular jobs in Michigan with an even younger minimum age. For example, minors 11 and older can work as golf or bridge caddies and referees under specific conditions, and minors 13 and older can work at trap shooting events and as corn detasselers.
Minor Supervision and Employer Records
Minors must have a supervisor while on the job who must be at least 18 years old, or they cannot remain employed. The Wage and Hour Division will apply special penalties to businesses employing minors who do cash transactions after sunset or 8 p.m. with no supervision. A supervisor must be on the business' premises to direct and control the minor's work and to assist in case of an emergency.
The minor's employer must keep records of their hours of work. They must keep their work permit or Act exemption verification and keep track of the number of hours the minor works every day, with their start and end times on file for one year.
They must also hold other records, including parent/guardian permission documents to work in a restricted occupation or work deviated hours, as well as records that the Wage and Hour Division may request, including start and end times for meals or breaks.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.