YA Program Employment: Legal Requirements
What are the legal requirements governing YA student employment?
- YA students and employers must have a signed Education/Training Agreement (ETA) on file with both the school and the employer.
- YA students and employers do not need to obtain a separate Work Permit for the work to be performed as a part of YA, although it is highly recommended. A Work Permit is required if employers hire YA students to perform other work duties outside of their YA duties.
The hours a YA student works in the program during the hours school is in session during the day do not count towards the limitation on total hours a minor may work. Review the Department of Workforce Development (DWD)Child Labor web site for applicable hours and times of the day that minors may work in Wisconsin.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers pay YA students for all hours worked as part of the YA program. Beginning wage rates must be no less than the minimum wage but may vary above that amount as determined by the employer or the local consortium.
Child Labor Laws:
- YA students enrolled in approved YA programs and their employers are subject to all state and federal child labor laws regarding the employment of minors. Readers should refer to DWD Child Labor Laws for descriptions of occupations or activities which are normally prohibited to minors.
- Students and employers must comply with child labor laws with regard to aily/weekly hours, time of day, employment, etc.
- YA students are allowed to work in some prohibited occupations because they meet the criteria of "student learner" as defined in the law, but they are not exempt from the child labor laws by virtue of being enrolled in a YA program. Readers should refer to Child Labor Laws and Youth Apprenticeship for specific information relating to the YA occupation areas and allowable activities.
- Student Learner Criteria - In order to be considered a “student learner,” YA students must meet the following criteria:
- Enrolled in an approved DWD YA program
- Enrolled in school and receiving school credit for YA program participation
- Receive appropriate safety instruction at the school and at the workplace
- The work performed is under direct and close supervision of a qualified and experienced person
- The work performed in any occupation declared hazardous is incidental (occasional) to their training and is for intermittent and for short periods of time
- The worksite is following the state curriculum
Insurance and Liability:
- Workers Compensation – Once a YA student becomes a paid employee they must be covered by the employer’s workers compensation coverage. Schools are not allowed to cover YA students through their workers’ compensation policy.
- General Liability – An employer is liable for the service provided at their facility and determining liability for an accident can only be settled in a court of law. In general if an employer has adequate general liability and workers compensation coverage, no additional liability is required as a result of the YA program. However, before participating in the program, an employer may wish to consult with their insurance carrier.
- Transportation – YA students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the worksite and are responsible for their own insurance. In instances where the school provides transportation for the YA student, the school is responsible for insurance coverage. The employer is only responsible for this insurance coverage if the facility provides transportation to and from work for the YA student.
- Unemployment Compensation – If a YA student is enrolled full-time in a public educational institution and receives school credit for their participation in the YA program, then they are NOT eligible to file for unemployment compensation from the employer. YA students who do NOT meet these criteria may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
Unions and Layoffs:
- Worker Displacement – No employer may hire a YA student who will displace any currently employed worker, including reduction of the hours of non-overtime work, wages, or employment benefits.
- Layoffs/Strikes – A YA student cannot be hired when any other individual is on temporary layoff, with the clear possibility of recall, from the same or equivalent job OR if the employer has terminated the employment of any regular employee, or otherwise reduced the workforce, with the intention of filling the vacancy created with a YA student. Child labor laws prohibit YA students from working in a company where a strike or lockout is in active progress.
- Collective Bargaining Agreements – The YA program should not impair existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements. Any YA program that would be inconsistent with the terms of a collective bargaining agreement shall be approved only with the written concurrence of the labor organization and employer involved.
- Local bargaining units should determine the status of YA students already working in the facility in the event of a layoff.
- YA students may be laid off or transferred to work areas to take the place of laid off workers.