As an injury lawyer, I see the tragic results of irresponsibility every day. Uninsured motorists cause mayhem and often pay nothing for their carelessness. People drive without driver’s licenses or due care.
If you are like me, you have pretty much always been working since you were a youngster. At age 9, I started mowing yards and kept that up in my teen years. But my first job outside yard work was washing dishes at a Huddle House. Scraping food off stranger’s plates (along with cigarette butts back then) made me want to get an education. I was 13.
After that, I worked at jobs that varied from stocking at Lowe’s to shipping and receiving; from mechanic’s assistant to floral delivery driver; from sign painter to grocery store sacker.
If your son or daughter is 14 or 15 and wants to work, they need only prove their age to their boss. They can use a passport, a birth certificate, a driver license permit, or any state issued identification. But, there are strict state and federal rules.
During the school year, when the schools are in session, the laws allows no more than 3 hours per day and no more than 18 hours a week. If the next day is a school day, children ages 14-15 may not work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
During the summer, or times when school is out, they are limited to no more than 8 hours a day and no more than 40 hours per week. They can work no later than 9:00 p.m. and even when the next day is not a school day they may not work before 6 a.m.
There are no limitations on the number of hours that 16 and 17-year-old minors work, as long as it not during school hours; nor can they work past 10:00 p.m. on nights preceding school days (Sunday through Thursday nights), unless their parents or guardians sign a Parental Consent Form. The Parental Consent Form would allow them to work no later than 12:00 midnight three of those nights while school is in session.
Tennessee law does not allow driving by minors as part of their job duties, unless a limited special exception is sought and granted. Breaks are mandatory for all minors (under age 18). Any minor scheduled to work 6 hours must have a thirty (30) minute rest or meal break without exceptions.
One must be 18 or over to participate in hazardous occupations like mining, use of explosives or punch presses, logging. sawmilling, certain machines, meat packing, roofing, wrecking and demolition.
Children are generally free to work at their parents’ non-hazardous businesses.
We can all agree that more responsibility needs to be learned, but sometimes laws against abuses make it more difficult.