Teen workers are governed by strict labor laws.

South Carolina's Teen Labor Law

by Lisa Fritscher

Like all states, South Carolina imposes labor laws on children and teens under the age of 18. South Carolina’s laws follow federal guidelines that govern the minimum age for employment, types of jobs that minors may perform and maximum number of work hours. When your teen looks for a job, make sure he understands his rights and responsibilities under the law.

1. Minors Under Age 14

In general, children and teens under 14 are not permitted to hold jobs in South Carolina. Employing a minor under 14 is considered oppressive child labor. However, children of any age may work in businesses that are solely owned and operated by their parents. They may also work in the entertainment industry or deliver newspapers. Children ages 12 and 13 may work alongside their parents on a farm or on any farm during non-school hours with written permission from a parent. However, those under age 14 are forbidden from undertaking hazardous occupations at any time, even when employed by their parents.

2. Minors Ages 14 and 15

Teens ages 14 and 15 are allowed to work in clerical, sales, retail, food service, gas station and office environments, but they are restricted in the specific job tasks they may perform. They may not use ladders or scaffolding, prepare foods, operate lawn equipment or golf carts, perform car repairs or work in a warehouse or storage facility. In addition, they are not allowed to work in a hazardous occupation. Your teen may work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and until 9 p.m. during the summer break, but he can never work during school hours. Teens are limited to three hours of work on a school day and eight hours of work on a non-school day, for a total of 18 hours during a school week or 40 hours during a non-school week.

3. Minors Ages 16 and 17

South Carolina sets few restrictions on teen employees ages 16 and 17. They may work any number of hours at any time of day. However, they may not be employed in hazardous occupations. There are 17 hazard occupations, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These range from driving to coal mining and include jobs that require the use of power-driven machinery. The full list is available at the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation website.

4. Youth Minimum Wage

South Carolina does not prohibit employers from implementing the federal youth minimum wage. According to federal guidelines, employees under age 20 may be paid an hourly wage that is lower than the federal minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment. As of 2013, the youth minimum wage is $4.25 per hour. This wage applies only for the 90 calendar days that begin with the first day of work, even if the teen has a break in service. After the 90 days expire, your teen is entitled to the adult minimum wage.

About the Author

Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer specializing in disabled adventure travel. She spent 15 years working for Central Florida theme parks and frequently travels with her disabled father. Fritscher's work can be found in both print and online mediums, including VisualTravelTours.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida.

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