It isn’t another big Barack Obama speech or a policy position that has people buzzing this week.
No, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee garnered attention when he mixed family and business on the campaign trail.
Obama, along with his wife, Michelle, brought his two young daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on-camera for an interview with Access Hollywood (GE ). The girls answered a few questions for interviewer Maria Menounos on why they’d love to redecorate White House bedrooms, and how their famous mom and dad do not like “whining.”
But Barack is now regretting his choice to put his daughters in the public eye. He told Good Morning America (DIS), "I don't think it's healthy and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future."
Whether they are working a campaign trail or helping out in a small family business, the government has rules regarding kids punching the time clock.
Carol Clymer, director of labor market initiatives for the non-profit Public/Private Ventures, which helps shape public policy in workplace development, says laws about youth employment help keep youngsters within the scope of their maturity level. “You wouldn’t want to put [teenagers] in a situation that takes a lot of finessing,” such as dealing with angry patrons in customer service, she says. (Or perhaps an Access Hollywood interview.) “You’d want somebody a little more mature and older to handle that.” Additionally, young adults in the workforce often need guidance about everything from what’s acceptable chatter around the water cooler to what taxes are coming out of their paycheck, Clymer says.
To help you do right by the young people you might work with, MainStreet turned to the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines. Here's how to stay within the law if your colleague is too young to vote:
1. Kids under 13 – like Malia and Sasha Obama – are limited in the work they can do. The only jobs someone younger than 13-years-old can do are babysitting, delivering newspapers and performing or acting. Young’uns on the clock can also work if their parents solely own and operate a business, or if the parents own or operate a farm, says the Department of Labor’s YouthRules! Web site. (Although it is important to check restrictions by state, as well: The minimum age for farm work, for example, is 9 if you’re picking berries or beans in Oregon, or 15 for pineapple harvesting in Hawaii.)
2. The work older teens can do may also be restricted. Some on-the-job responsibilities are “child proof” – understandably ones that involve chemicals and sharp blades. The Department of Labor’s web site says 16- and 17-year-olds can work in the construction industry, for example, but handling band saws and guillotine shears, operating a train or forklift, as well as mixing or handling explosive compounds, are verboten.
3. Younger teens are usually required to work fewer hours than older teens. Fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds can work between 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., except for between June 1 and Labor Day, when youngsters can work until 9 p.m., says YouthRules! (They’re also restricted to three hours on a school day and 18 hours on a school week.) The hours an older teenager can work widely vary state to state. For example, Minnesota and Florida prohibit 16- and 17-year-olds from working past 11 p.m., while in Pennsylvania kids of the same age are allowed to work until midnight or 1 a.m. on a non-school night. And on your 18th birthday, child labor laws no longer apply.
4. Parents should make sure their kids have the necessary paperwork in order. In some parts of the country, young adults need to obtain working papers. In Louisiana, for example, an employer must fill out an “intention to employ” form that must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. The signed form must be taken to the school or school board office.
5. The state minimum wage an employer is required to pay can vary for minors. Good news for Scrooges! It varies state by state, but in some places, an employer doesn’t have to pay a non-salaried 16-year-old the same way they’d pay a non-salaried 30-year-old. In Connecticut, for example, minors may be paid 85% of the minimum wage for the first 200 hours of their employment. (Since the current minimum wage in Conn. is $7.65 an hour, that means a minor must be paid at least $6.50 an hour.)
One last note of caution: Don’t take child labor laws lightly. Employers and parents can face steep fines for not adhering to child labor laws. In Alabama, for example, employers who don’t follow the guidelines face strict fines. The May 2008 Alabama Employment Law Letter warned potential employers that they face civil penalties up to $11,000 for employing underage workers.
But if an employer follows all the rules, teenagers can be a lovely addition to a workplace. Why does Clymer thinks young people are a great asset? “They’re not jaded!”
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