As a parent, you might really want to encourage your children to work and learn how to make a living. However, there are child labor laws that prevent you from engaging your children in employment prior to the age of sixteen (with the exception of some other "teen" type jobs). Here are some vital reasons why your children cannot, and should not, work, as well as some legal advice.
Limited Work Hours
Now, children as young as twelve can babysit, mow lawns and deliver newspapers, but their hours are limited to times of day that will allow them plenty of time to sleep, play, and study their schoolwork. Child actors are a different story, but generally their hours of working on a TV or movie set are also limited. No child under fifteen is allowed by law to work more than twelve hours a week, unless accompanied by an adult and with a parent or guardian's express permission.
Children Fifteen and Above
Children fifteen to eighteen can work a regular job bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and cashiering. Working various jobs in restaurants are also allowed. Even then, they may only work until eight or nine at night so that they still have some study time after work and can get to bed at a decent hour. They are allowed to work longer shifts during school breaks and the summer.
Payment for Child Labor
Children in any form of employment are paid an hourly or "piecemeal" wage. Because they are unskilled workers, they receive minimum wage set according to their age, with younger children earning slightly less. Piecemeal employment means they are paid per item packaged or delivered, such as a dime per paper delivered or the rate paid by golfers to have a caddy. Child actors are the only ones who make a much higher salary because of their contracts.
Consulting a Labor Lawyer for Child Safety
If you are concerned about any form of employment for your young teen or teenager, consult a labor lawyer. The laws may differ slightly from state to state and type of employment available for twelve to seventeen-year-olds. Encouraging children in this age group to work and teaching them good work ethics is valuable, but you want to do it within the constraints of the law. You do not want to have your child/teen take on a job and then find out from Child Protective Services that you violated the law.