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Can Employers Pay Minors Less Than Minimum Wage? I Need The Top Wage Theft Lawyer In Ohio!

On Behalf of | May 24, 2016 | Wage: Minimum Wage, Wage: Overtime, Wage: Tipped Employees |

Best Ohio Wage and Hour Attorney Answer: Are minimum wage laws different for minors? How many hours can her boss force my daughter have to work? Is my minor son entitled to overtime pay?

Who are the best wage and hour lawyers in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo, Ohio? If you think your child is a victim of wage theft, call attorney Brian D. Spitz and the employment lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today.

Our wage and hour attorneys have blogged about overtime and minimum wage rights for adults a lot. (See If I Do Domestic Work, Can I Sue For Overtime Pay? I Need A Lawyer!; Should I Be Paid Overtime Even If I’m A Manger? Lawyer Reply; Law: As A Salaried Employee, Am I Exempt From Overtime Pay?; What Can I Do About Wage Theft Violations? – Call The Right Attorney; and How Long Do I Have To Sue For Wage Theft After I Quit?). But, what about wage right for children? Are there any child labor laws that protect children from wage theft?

As a child, I remember being told by a teacher that because I was not an adult, I did not have any rights. Of course, at the time I vehemently disagreed with this – I was an American – of course I had rights!

My grandfather agreed with me. When I used to go to his restaurant to work on Saturdays, I would bake the bread, wash the dishes, and even scrapped the gum off the bottom of tables. At the end of the day, he would bring me into his and hand me $5 or $10 and say that he had to because of child labor laws. For an 8 year old, it seemed more money than I could ever spend. I loved child labor laws.

As it turned out, however, my teacher was right. We all know kids don’t have certain rights, such as the right to vote, to buy tobacco products or alcohol, or to be out past certain hours. But are children entitled to the minimum wage?

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The answer is unfortunately not straightforward. Ohio’s current minimum wage ($8.10) only applies to minors who are 16 years old or older, and for businesses who (as of 2015) have annual gross receipts that are equal to or greater than $297,000.00. So, for smaller businesses, and for 14 and 15 year olds, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“) minimum wage rate of $7.25 applies instead. This may seem unfair to the under 16 crowd, but it could be worse. In fact, under the FLSA it is worse.

You see, things only get worse for the under 16 crowd when it comes to getting a fair days pay for a fair days work under the FLSA. Pursuant to Section 206(g) of the FLSA, newly hired employees under the age of 20 may be paid as little as $4.25 per hour for the first 90 consecutive days of their employment. At least in Ohio, the least a minor can be paid is $7.25 per hour.

So, how old does your child need to be before they can get in on that $7.25 per hour goodness? Under Ohio law, an employer must obtain a work permit before hiring a minor that is signed by the minor’s parents and a school official. Because this permit is only available for the purpose of hiring those who are 14 and up, those under 14 cannot legally be employed, with a few exceptions. Ohio R.C. sets out roughly 11 exceptions, to include:

(1) Minors who are students working on any properly guarded machines in the manual training department of any school when the work is performed under the personal supervision of an instructor;

(2) Students participating in a vocational program approved by the Ohio department of education;

(3) A minor participating in a play, pageant, or concert produced by an outdoor historical drama corporation, a professional traveling theatrical production, a professional concert tour, or a personal appearance tour as a professional motion picture star, or as an actor or performer in motion pictures or in radio or television productions in accordance with the rules adopted pursuant to division (A) of section 4109.05 of the Revised Code;

(4) The participation, without remuneration of a minor and with the consent of a parent or guardian, in a performance given by a church, school, or academy, or at a concert or entertainment given solely for charitable purposes, or by a charitable or religious institution;

(5) Minors who are employed by their parents in occupations other than occupations prohibited by rule adopted under this chapter;

(6) Minors engaged in the delivery of newspapers to the consumer;

(7) Minors who have received a high school diploma or a certificate of attendance from an accredited secondary school or a certificate of high school equivalence;

(8) Minors who are currently heads of households or are parents contributing to the support of their children;

(9) Minors engaged in lawn mowing, snow shoveling, and other related employment;

(10) Minors employed in agricultural employment in connection with farms operated by their parents, grandparents, or guardians where they are members of the guardians’ household. Minors are not exempt from this chapter if they reside in agricultural labor camps as defined in section 3733.41 of the Revised Code;

(11) Students participating in a program to serve as precinct officers as authorized by section 3501.22 of the Revised Code.

Finally, it should go without saying that minors under the age of 16 are not entitled to overtime, if only because Ohio law specifically prohibits 14-15 year olds from working more than 40 hours a week. In fact, when school is session, children this age are only allowed to work a maximum of 18 hours per week. It is possible for 16 and 17 year olds to work overtime, but unlikely when school is in session due to restrictions regarding hours of work.

If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.


The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.

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