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What state law has to say about minors working during the school year

We are now only a few weeks away from the official start of the school year here in Minnesota. If you don’t believe it, turn on your television or peruse the Internet for just a short time, and you will soon be inundated with back-to-school advertisements showcasing everything from clothes to notebooks.

While the seemingly universal response among younger children to this reality is despair, teenagers often have different reactions and, of course, different concerns. In particular, they may wonder about the extent to which state law will allow them to keep working during the upcoming school year.

In general, the law here in Minnesota does allow teens to work during the school year. However, this will be subject to certain conditions depending on their age.

For example, state law dictates that teens younger than 16 generally cannot work before 7 am or after 9 pm during the summer. Furthermore, they are generally not allowed to work over 40 hours a week or over eight hours in a given 24-hour window while not in school.

All of this changes during the school year, however, as state law dictates that teens in this age range cannot work during school hours on school days absent the necessary permission from the district superintendant. In addition, federal law dictates that they cannot work past 7 pm, cannot work for more than three hours per day and cannot work for more than 18 hours per week.

Things are a bit simpler for 16- and 17-year-olds looking to work during the school year, as they are not allowed to work past 11 pm on school nights or before 5 am on school days. Indeed, these hour restrictions can be bumped to 11:30 pm and 4:30 am, respectively, with the written permission of a parent/guardian.

Remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you believe that your rights under the state’s wage and hour laws have been violated in any capacity

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