MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Labor is working to inform employers, teens, and parents alike about Alabama's child labor laws as we transition into seasonal summer employment.
May marks the summer surge in Alabama's workforce.
"There's a lot of available jobs for teens in the summer," stated Tara Hutchison with the state labor department. "Life guarding, retailing, clerical positions, fast food restaurants are a few positions that teens can apply for."
Employers who plan to hire teens must obtain a Child Labor Certificate from the Labor Department.
"It's not difficult, it's not a scary process," Hutchison affirmed. "We have staff willing to help you through this process, we have training at no cost to make sure you are well aware of the laws and you are complying with them."
Hutchison says the chief priority in obtaining a Child Labor Certificate is insuring all teens are safe on the job, and the state knows where those teens are working. For teens searching for first time employment, Hutchison has some practical tips to make the most of the process.
"If you're a teen looking for work, make sure you get dressed up and you put your best foot forward," Hutchison explained. "A lot of these jobs for teens are communicated through word of mouth, it may be 'my neighbor needs a few people to help at the restaurant this summer' or 'I heard at church they are looking for someone to work at the city pool.'"
During the summer, 14 and 15-year-olds can work eight hours a day and up to forty hours a week.
"They are the only individuals in Alabama that have a break law," stated Adam Strickland, child labor inspector.
There are no hourly restrictions for those 16 and older. In fact, many of the employers plan and depend on the seasonal workers.
"We teach at an early age the importance of networking," Hutchison stated. "If you are looking for something, make sure that information is out there."
Generally, no person under 18 should work in roofing, woodworking, metal cutting, in a butcher shop or with any industrial equipment.