Hiring Youth in Agriculture
by Rachel Aguilar
As the weather warms up and the school year comes to an end, there is an influx in minors looking to work and earn extra income in their free time during the summer break. However, when hiring minors, employers must pay extra attention in certain areas of employment. This is especially true in the agriculture industry, where the minimum age to work in Washington is only 12 to 13 years old.
What Do You Need to Hire a Minor for the Summer?
- Current Minor Work Permit
- Proof of Age document
To protect the next generation of workers, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has outlined rules for employing minors to keep them safe during the workday. They have limited work hours, specific meal and rest break requirements, and restrictions on what machinery they can operate onsite.
What are the Hours They Can Work During Summer Break?
Minors who are 12 to 15 years of age can work up to eight hours a day and six days a week, but their total working time per week must not exceed 40 hours. Working hours must be limited to 5am to 9pm.
Minors who are 16 to 17 years of age can work up to 10 hours a day and six days a week, but their total working time per week must not exceed 50 hours. Working hours must be limited to 5am to 10pm.
These restrictions do not apply to minors working on their family farm.
What are the Required Wages?
Those under 16 years old must be paid at least of 85% of the current minimum wage. Those 16 to 17 years of age must be paid at least the current minimum wage.
What are Their Meal and Rest Break Requirements?
Meal and rest break requirements also depend on their specific age.
Rest Break Requirements:
- Under 16 years old: At least 10 minutes for every two hours worked, and they cannot work more than two hours without a meal or rest break.
- 16 to 17 years old: As close to the midpoint of a work period as possible, and they cannot work more than three hours without a rest break.
Meal Break Requirements:
- Under 16 years old: Must be given a meal break if working more than four hours.
- 16 to 17 years old: A minimum of 30 minutes if they’re working at least a five-hour shift, and the break cannot be later than the end of their third hour.
Adhering to these rules will ensure a great summer experience for your employed minors! If you have questions on how to get started, we are always available to help.
Call us at (360) 734-4280 or fill out the form below and we'll contact you to discuss your specific situation.
HR Consulting Services Senior Associate
Rachel Aguilar joined Larson Gross in 2021. She specializes in HR Services and has in-depth knowledge of employment law, benefits, employee engagement, and recruiting.