The District of Columbia imposes certain requirements on employers who hire minors (persons under the age of 18 years). These requirements depend on the age of the minor, the type of employment involved and the time period of the employment. The District imposes some seasonal restrictions on employment, as well as restrictions on the number of hours per day and week, and the specific time periods during which a minor may work during the day. Finally, as a general rule, no minor will be permitted to work if it will be dangerous to their health, safety, or welfare.
We bring this information to your attention as a reminder of key points in the hiring of persons under 18 years of age in the District. The information presented here is a summary of the main points applicable to hiring in the university context. There are some important restrictions in the law.
This information is intended to supplement existing CUA policy with regard to the employment of minors. According to Section IV of CUA's Employment Practices and Procedures Policy, "[t]o be considered for regular employment, an applicant must be seventeen years of age or older. To be considered for temporary or regular part-time employment, an applicant must be at least sixteen years of age and, if only sixteen, must have a work permit from the District of Columbia."
- The minor employee needs a permit (see Permits below).
- Minors age 16 or 17 may not work at operating any freight or non-automatic elevator or in a quarry, tunnel, or excavation.
- Minors aged 16 or 17 are allowed to work no more than six consecutive days a week, no more than 48 hours a week, and no more than eight hours any day. They may not work before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m.
- The minor employee needs a permit.
- Minors age 14 or 15 are allowed to work no more than six consecutive days a week, no more than 48 hours a week, and no more than eight hours any day. If the minor is under 16, he/she may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. (except that during the summer, June 1st through Labor Day, a minor under 16 is permitted to work until 9:00 p.m.).
- Minors under 16 may not work at jobs operating electrically powered machinery, or in oiling, wiping, or assisting with cleaning machinery (unless they are in a vocational education or training program approved by the District of Columbia Board of Education). Minors under 18 may not work at operating any freight or non-automatic elevator or in a quarry, tunnel, or excavation.
If a minor is under 14, he/she cannot work in any connection with a gainful occupation and therefore cannot be hired at the university. The only exception for this would be for theatrical performers (see Theatrical Permits below).
Note that other rules not likely to be applicable to work at the university also apply to the employment of minors in the District of Columbia. These include rules that permit minors (including those under age 14 in some circumstances) under certain conditions: to do housework or agricultural work at the home of their parents or guardians; or to engage in the distribution or sale of newspapers in a public place.
There are three different types of permits: work, vacation, and theatrical. A permit is needed for all employment unless the minor is "employed" outside of school hours in irregular or casual work at the home of the employer, as long as it is not in connection with a business, trade, profession, or occupation of the employer. For example, mowing a neighbor's lawn does not require a permit.
Note also that a District of Columbia work permit is required for any work performed at the university, regardless of the residence (e.g., Maryland or Virginia) of the minor employee.
- Work Permits must be applied for by the minor and are issued by the District of Columbia Board of Education.
- The application must state the name, sex, date, place of birth, and place of residence of the minor.
- It must also state the last grade completed by the minor and any other details the Board may consider necessary to identify the minor.
- It shall state the name and address of the employer, the nature of the occupation employed, and must certify that all the requirements imposed have been met. It then must be signed by the issuing officer, assigned a permit number, provided with the date of issue, signed by the minor and mailed or delivered to the employer.
- It must include a statement by the employer or his/her agent stating that the employer expects to provide the minor with employment, indicating the nature of the employer's occupation, the number of hours per day and the days per week which the minor will work. (See the Sample Letter below.)
- Minors under 16 must also submit a certificate of physical fitness for the specified employment, which must be signed by a licensed physician, and the written consent of a parent, guardian or custodian must be attached.
- In order to issue the permit, the Board requires evidence of the minor's age in the form of a birth certificate or attested transcript by an authorized officer, records from the first school attended, a baptismal record or certified transcript with date of birth and place of baptism, a contemporary record kept in a family Bible where such dates are preserved or any other documentary evidence satisfactory to the Board.
- Vacation Permits may be issued to minors between the ages of 14 and 16. The permit allows the minor to work during regular summer vacation periods of public school or during the school term when school is not in session. The application requirements are the same as for the work permit, except that the minor does not have to complete the eighth grade. The permit is a different color than the work permit and states the permissible periods the minor may work.
- Theatrical Permits may be issued by the Board of Education, which allow minors to participate in performances of licensed theatres, musicals, dance recitals, concerts, radio and television programs, motion pictures, professional sports activities, the circus, or appear as a fashion model. With a valid theatrical permit, minors may not appear in more than two live performances per day, nor more than eight live performances in one week. Minors may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 11:30 p.m. Additional limitations are imposed for minors age 7 and under.
A violation occurs when a minor is permitted to work without compliance with the law or if an employer interferes with the Board, it's officers or agents, or other authorized personnel. Upon the first offense, the employer may be fined between $1,000 and $3,000, imprisoned between 10 and 30 days, or both. Upon a second offense, the employer may be fined between $3,000 and $5,000, imprisoned between 30 and 90 days, or both. Each day of the violation is considered a separate offense.
To the Board of Education:
The Catholic University of America intends to employ insert name of minor, aged insert age, in the position of insert job title and description. The term of employment will begin insert start date and end insert finish date. The University expects to employ the above named individual insert numberof hours a day and insert number of days a week.
The Catholic University of America is a nonprofit corporation organized for educational purposes. The Department of insert name of department and brief description.
This letter is intended to meet the requirement imposed by the District of Columbia for the employment of minors under D.C. Code § 36-509.
Name of Employer
(or an agent of the employer)
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