With the employee shortage many companies are facing, attracting and retaining talent is critical. An untapped resource for many industries is younger talent – such as high school students. While minors can be a very valuable resource for employers, there are best practices to keep in mind so your organization continues operating safely and efficiently.
Wisconsin's employment of minors laws prohibit the use of certain potentially hazardous equipment by minors under the age of 18. Included on the list are jobs such as:
- Motor vehicle driver and outside helper
- Power driven fixed or portable machines
- Roofing or on or about a roof
- Use of ladders
Note: The list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about a particular piece of equipment, we encourage you to contact the Department's Equal Rights Division or visit the Department of Workforce Development’s website for specific definitions.
Additional considerations when employing minors:
- Minors 15 and under may not be employed in "manufacturing, mining, or processing occupations." This includes occupations that require the performance of any duties in workrooms or workplaces where goods are manufactured, mined, or otherwise processed. See Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 270.13(13).
- The Student Learner Exemption: A "student learner" is a student of an accredited school who is employed on a part–time basis to obtain both scholastic credit and employment training under a bona fide written school-work training program agreement.
- A student learner is permitted to do some work that is otherwise prohibited if the student learner is performing service within a bona fide school-work training program
- Sponsored by an accredited school
- Authorized and approved by
- The state department of public instruction,
- The technical college system board, or
- The department's youth apprenticeship program
- Each school-work training agreement shall:
- Include the name of the student learner;
- Be signed by the parent, employer, and school principal;
- Be kept on file by both the school and the employer; and
- Shall provide all of the following:
- That the work of the student learner in the occupation declared hazardous under ss. DWD 270.12 and 270.13 is incidental to the student learner's training, and shall be intermittent and only for short periods of time (i.e., for 5% or less of the total work hours);
- Direct and close supervision of a qualified and experienced person.
- Safety instructions will be given by the school and correlated by the employer with on-the-job training.
- A schedule of organized and progressive work processes to be performed on the job.
In addition to equipment, there are other crucial elements to keep top of mind when hiring minors. A sample of these elements include:
- Employees under the age of 16 need to have a Child Labor Work Permit signed by their parent/guardian. Employers must reimburse the $10 fee, as well as provide a letter for the employee to receive their Work Permit.
- Additional information can be found at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/labor_standards/child_labor_laws.htm
- While the equipment list provided by the DWD is helpful, there is additional training that needs to be provided with each of the tasks or tools that minors will be using. Per OSHA, this training needs to be documented.
- Cell phone policies are becoming increasingly important. From cell phone use while driving, to having social media accessible at employees’ fingertips, it’s important to outline the Dos and Don’ts.
- Do phones need to be put away while driving?
- When are phones allowed on the jobsite?
- Can pictures with company logos be shared on social media?
R&R Insurance has numerous resources to help your organization attract, train, and attain young talent. To learn more, contact a Knowledge Broker.