Fresno, CA – Datatech is observing that many youth are heading back to school in August, but as each summer progresses, many youngsters do get out into the ag fields and help pick fruits and vegetables. Many of us did that in our youth. But what does the California Labor Code say about minors and working in ag? The Farm Employers Labor Service has published an article on this. California and federal laws regulate the conditions under which minors may be employed and the hours they may work. The employment of minors in some situations is completely banned.
Here’s where the California Labor Code begins, an employer that directly or indirectly employs a minor under 18 years of age (other than a high-school graduate or equivalent) must keep a “Permit to Employ” and a “Work Permit” on file throughout the minor’s employment. The Permit to Employ must be obtained before the minor starts work. Minors apply for Work Permits from the minor’s school. Minors visiting from another state (or country, if eligible to work in the United States) who wish to work in California must obtain the standard Permit to Employ and Work, and their employers must possess such permit. These permits may be issued by the local school district in which the minor will reside while visiting.
As far as danger is concerned, minors under 12 may not work or accompany an employed parent into an “agricultural zone of danger,” which includes being near moving equipment, unprotected chemicals or water hazards. Minors under 16 may not perform hazardous duties.
Minors employed on a farm owned or operated by their parents or guardians are not subject to minimum wage, overtime, or working-condition requirements. While not needing work permits, they may not work during hours that school is in session.
A minor of any age may be employed without either a permit or any limitation in agricultural, horticultural viticultural and domestic labor for or under the control of his or her parent or guardian upon or in connection with premises owned or operated by the parent or guardian. This exemption applies only during non-school hours and even if the minor is under school age.
In a non-agricultural workplace operated by a grower, a minor is exempt from federal Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA coverage only if the minor’s parent or guardian is the exclusive employer; where such an operation is a partnership or corporation, a minor is exempt from FLSA coverage only if the minor’s parents or guardians are the sole partners or shareholders. A minor employed in this kind of workplace is exempt under California law, as long as the conditions stated above exist.
Minors aged 14 through 17: May work in any job except those listed for their respective age bracket as ‘Restricted and Hazardous Occupations.’ The FELS website has this list of restricted occupations, if you’d like to know.
Minors aged 12 and 13: May not work in FLSA-covered non-agricultural jobs. like commercial processing plants. May work, with either written parental consent or on a farm where the minor’s parent or person standing in the parent’s place is also employed, in any agricultural job except those listed for their age bracket as ‘Restricted and Hazardous Occupations.’
Here are the rules on hours minors can work, there is this exception though, High-school graduates and those with a certificate of proficiency may work the same hours as adults. Minors aged 16 and 17: When school is in session, may work 4 hours on school days and 8 hours on non-school days; with special permission they may work 8 hours on school days before non-school days. When school is not in session, they may work 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Exception: They may work 10 hours per day on non-school days during peak harvest season in an agricultural packing plant to which the Labor Commissioner has issued an exemption.
Minors aged 14 and 15: When school is in session, may work 3 hours per day and 18 hours per week. When school is not in session, may work 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Minors aged 12 and 13: May work only in agriculture for 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week on non-school days only.
Here are times minors can work. Aged 16 and 17: They may work between 5 a.m. and either 10 p.m. on school days or 12:30 a.m. on non-school days. Minors aged 14 and 15: May work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but from June 1 to Labor Day may work until 9 p.m. Minors aged 12 and 13: May work only in agriculture between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but from June 1 to Labor Day may work until 9 p.m.
Farms employing any parent or guardian with minor children in immediate custody must post a notice, in English and Spanish, stating that minors are not allowed to work on the premises unless legally permitted to do so by duly constituted authorities.
Generally, minors must be paid wages on same basis as adults.
Citations may be issued for violations of the above requirements, up to $10,000 for a Class A violation and up to $1,000 for a Class B violation. These penalties may be imposed on a landowner who knowingly benefits from child-labor violations, regardless of whether the landowner is the minor’s employer.
Datatech is an agriculture software company that provides state of the art grower cost accounting and payroll software. Datatech has hundreds of clients across America employing thousands of farm labor employees.