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Equal Rights Division Newsletter - May 12, 2021

Is your family business hiring? Maybe hire family.

Generally speaking, minors must be at least 14 years old to enter the workforce. But there are a few exceptions for younger children. The ERD explains.

The Question

Your restaurant thrives in the summer. As you gear up for the busy season, you're informed that a few of your student employees won't be returning to work when school's out. You fill the positions as best as you can, but you're still short a few bussers. In the past, you've had one of your younger children clear tables for you when you've been in a pinch. And your now 12-year-old really wants a job.

Can you hire your child?

Family Businesses

The Answer

Wisconsin Child Labor Laws permit children younger than 14 to enter the workforce so long as the job they are hired to perform is under the direct supervision of their parents or guardian, in connection with the parent's business, trade, or profession, and not hazardous or otherwise prohibited work. If the minor would be permitted to work in the same job at age of 14, they can be hired by their parents at any age.

Know Your Rights

Remember, Wisconsin Child Labor Laws are designed to protect minor workers. All minors under the age of 16 must obtain a Wisconsin minor work permit prior to starting employment. For more information on minor employment and work permits, contact the Equal Rights Division.

Equal Rights Officers are available to answer your employment discrimination questions. We take calls Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:45 AM and 4:30 PM. Madison: (608) 266-6860; Milwaukee: (414) 227-4384.

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