Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oregon's Regulations for Young Workers - Who Can Pick Those Berries?

My first job in the late 1990s was as a paper boy. After that, I became way too familiar with the sink and dishes at a local restaurant. Since I was under 18, both jobs required special paperwork from parents, employers, and me. On top of this, I had special hours and restrictions on when and how much I could work.

This past year, teens and young adults participating in the labor force reached the lowest point on record. There is a perception among Oregonians that long-term labor force participation declines among young workers stem from a change in regulation and tightening of restrictions on youth labor laws. Despite this perception, none of these regulations have changed since the 1970s.

So what regulations exist for youth in the workforce?

Teenagers 16 and 17 can work anytime of the year:
  • Any hours – no daily restrictions
  • 44 hours per week maximum
Teenagers 14 and 15 can work:
  • When school is not in session:
    • Eight hours per day
    • 40 hours per week maximum
    • From June 1 through Labor Day: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • When school is in session:
    • Three hours per day on school days
    • Eight hours per day on non-school days
    • 18 hours per week maximum
    • Only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • Working is not allowed during school hours
Additional documentation and verification is necessary for employers hiring minors.  Restrictions also exist for hazardous occupations.

Restrictions on farm work are much different, however. In fact, to pick berries in Oregon, a young worker only needs to be nine years old (with permission of parents, outside of school hours) if the berries picked are sold within Oregon. 

For more details on farm work and where young Oregonians can find jobs, see page 18 of our report: Endangered: Youth in the Labor Force

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