By Terry D. McCay

If you currently employ minors (individuals under the age of 18) in your work place, or are considering doing so this summer, you should take note of some recent changes regarding employment of minors under Louisiana law.

Most employers are aware of the child labor provisions in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. § 212; 29 C.F.S. § 570). Louisiana also has child labor laws regulating types and hours of employment for individuals aged 14-17 (La. R.S. 23:151-291).

Minors aged 14-15 are prohibited from working in hazardous jobs as well as certain occupations, such as manufacturing, mining, and construction. They may not work more than three hours on any day or eighteen hours during any week, in which school is in session. They cannot work more than six consecutive days in one week or more than eight hours in any day. Fourteen and fifteen year old minors who have not graduated from high school are also prohibited from working more than forty hours in any week, cannot begin work prior to 7:00 a.m. or work past 7:00 p.m. on any day prior to a school day, or 9:00 p.m. on other days.

Minors aged 16-17 are also prohibited from working in hazardous occupations, such as logging and sawmill operations, roofing, excavation, and occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances. Prior to August 15, 2004, minors aged 16-17 who have not graduated from high school could not work past 10:00 p.m. on any day prior to a school day. A recent revision to La. R.S. 23:215 now permits 16 year old minors to work until 11:00 p.m., and 17 year old minors until midnight on days prior to a school day. They may not, however, report to work prior to 5:00 a.m. on such days.

Any employer desiring to employ a minor must complete an “Intention to Employ form” describing the type of work to be performed, which must be signed by the minor’s parent or guardian, and presented to an authorized issuing officer of the parish Superintendent of Schools in the parish where the work is to be performed. The minor must obtain an “Employment Certificate” from the issuing officer before beginning employment.