Permanent changes to New Jersey work rules for minors became effective on June 1, 2023. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, labor rules for minors had not changed in years. However, because of the employee shortage during the pandemic, the number of hours that teenagers could work was temporarily expanded by law and is now permanent. In addition, the traditional way that “working papers” were processed, through the school system, was abolished and a new centralized database to register employers and minors through the New Jersey Department of Labor has been established. New Jersey employers should know about these changes to make sure they are in compliance, particularly since the holiday season is upcoming, a time when teen workers are in high demand.
The following are some of the changes to New Jersey work rules for minors:
- 14- and 15-year-olds can work 8-hour shifts on holidays while school is in session, and without input from their schools.
- All minors must be given a 30-minute meal break after 6 continuous hours of work (prior to June 1, it was 5 hours). Breaks less than 30 minutes do not count as an interruption of continuous work.
- During the school year, minors under 16 may only work outside of scheduled school hours.
- Workers under 16 may work up to 40 hours in one week and up to 8 hours a day, to mirror the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, only between the last day of school and Labor Day.
- Workers 16 and up may work up to 50 hours in one week and up to 10 hours a day only between the last day of school and Labor Day.
Employers should go to the MyWorkingPapers.nj.gov website to register when employing a minor. The “Information for Employers” section provides additional information about employing minors and establishing an employer account. Employers should note that caregivers for minors must also sign off on the digital application.
Takeaway: If you are an employer who wishes to employ a minor to work at your business and need help complying with the changes in the law or with any other employment laws, contact Stephanie Gironda or any member of the Wilentz Employment Law Team.
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