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May 23, 201710:54 AMLaw at Work

with Jessica M. Kramer and Ashlie B. Johnson

Can my child work at my business?

(page 1 of 2)

As recently reported in the news, The Mixing Bowl Bakery in Sauk City is under fire for accusations of violations of child labor laws. The bakery is owned by Curtis and Vickie Eberle, a couple with nine children, many of whom work with them at the Mixing Bowl. The kids range in age from 11 years old to six weeks old.

On April 4, 2017, the Department of Workforce Development sent a letter to the Mixing Bowl warning the owners that their business would be audited after receiving several complaints about the children working at the bakery. The investigation is now closed, and the Eberles have stopped allowing their children to work in the bakery.

So, did the Mixing Bowl violate the law by having the owners’ children work at the bakery?

First, let’s take a look at child labor laws that apply in the State of Wisconsin. All Wisconsin employers — or out-of-state employers with employees who perform work in Wisconsin — are required to follow Wisconsin law. Federal laws come into play here, too; just about every employer is required to follow federal law.

Wisconsin law

At what age are minors allowed to work?

A minor is defined as an individual under the age of 18. But, different restrictions are in place for minors of varying ages under the age of 18 with the most restrictive rules in place for the youngest of minors allowed to work — those who are 11 years of age.

Generally, minors ages 14 and older may work in Wisconsin. There are some specific exceptions for younger minors. 

No specific age minimum

  • May work in public performances such as theater, television, or as a live photographic model.
  • May work as participants in a restitution project or supervised work program, under certain circumstances.

Age 11

  • Football monitors

Age 12

  • May work under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian in the parent or guardian’s business, trade, or profession, so long as the place of employment is not hazardous.
  • School lunch programs.
  • Street trades.
  • Fundraising for nonprofit organizations and schools.
  • Caddy on golf courses, if using caddy carts.
  • Farming.
  • Domestic (housework).
  • Sideline officials for high school football games.
  • Officials for private, nonprofit athletic events, under direct adult supervision.

Minors of any age are prohibited from working in a variety of occupations that are considered hazardous, such as in adult bookstores, around radioactive substances, and in conducting or assisting in the operation of a bingo game. Yes, you read that right — no bingo for minors of any age.

In addition to restrictions on type of work, minors are restricted as to the number of hours they are able to work each day and week. The restrictions are very specific based on the age of the minor, the type of work, and whether or not school is in session. The rules also require specific meal breaks that are more stringent than what is required for adults — 30 minutes for any shift that is six hours or more. While not every unique detail of the rules is covered here, this chart provides a good overview:

Age

Type of Day/Week

After Labor Day through May 31

June 1 through Labor Day

Notes

Under 14

Non-school day: daily limit

8 hours

8 hours

May only work in specified occupations (see above).

Max. six days per week unless in delivery of newspapers or agriculture.

School day: daily limit

3 hours

3 hours

Non-school day: weekly limit

40 hours

40 hours

School day: weekly limit

18 hours

18 hours

Permitted times of day

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

7 a.m.–9 p.m.

14–15

Non-school day: daily limit

8 hours

8 hours

If employed by more than one employer, hours restrictions apply to total work performed in given day/week.

Max. six days per week unless in delivery of newspapers or agriculture.

School day: daily limit

3 hours

3 hours

Non-school day: weekly limit

40 hours

40 hours

School day: weekly limit

18 hours

18 hours

Permitted times of day

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

7 a.m.–9 p.m.

16–17

No specific restrictions on time of day and hours per day/week, except may not work during hours of required school attendance.

 

If working past 11:00 p.m., must be given at least eight hours of rest before the start of the next shift.

(Continued)

Old to new | New to old
May 23, 2017 04:37 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Note bottom age of the children is 6 weeks - I doubt that child is working - more likely this is a child care issue. And unsupervised children at workplaces can be in danger .A national hotel chain since they paid low wages told maids they could bring young children to work with them- this continued even after 2 year old drowned in a hotel pool. In my daughters elementary school the one child who seemed to be severely learning disabled came from the wealthiest family. They took him with them on real estate calls - he spent a lot of his early years in car seats and being ignored and that resulted in major problems later . The country needs to support families not force them into situations where children's health and development is endangered.

May 23, 2017 08:43 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

The article omits information about work permits, which are still required for minors to work in their parent's business (so long as the place of employment is not hazardous). For information on work permits, see https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/labor_standards_bureau/work_permits.htm

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About This Blog

Jessica M. Kramer is a partner at Kramer, Elkins & Watt LLC in Madison and writes about employment law. At KEW she handles employment law matters for businesses and individuals, and represents landlords in all aspects of landlord-tenant law. Jessica received her undergraduate degree from UW–Madison in 2000 and her Juris Doctor from the UW Law School in 2004.

 Ashlie B. Johnson, PHR, is the owner of Brooke Human Resource Solutions, serving the Dane County area. BrookeHR operates as an independent HR contracting resource for small businesses, providing a wide range of support as well as policy language, documentation, and employment agreements that meet today’s complex compliance standards. Ashlie received her B.S. in Human Resource Management from St. Cloud State University in 2002 and has been a certified PHR since 2007.

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