Ag Employer Reminders
As a teen, one of my summer jobs was working for local farmers detasseling corn. With school now out the tradition of young people looking for summer farm work continues. Northwest Ag’s Greg Martin would like to remind ag employers of some of the legal limitations for youth workers.
MARTIN: All minors need to have signed parental permission slips on file with the employer and follow the limited number of work hours as set by law. Employers also need to check wage rates for youth. Twelve and thirteen year olds can only work harvesting cucumbers, berries, spinach, and bulbs during non-school months. All employees under age sixteen are prohibited from performing certain duties that the government has judged to be too hazardous.
Farm families own children are exempt from these limitations, but should still follow all advised safety standards. Ag employers also need to be sure to perform several steps before hiring minors, such as obtaining a minor work permit from the Department of Labor & Industries. There can be steep fines imposed by state and federal governments for violations of youth labor laws. In 2011 several Washington berry farmers were fined tens of thousands of dollars for having minors as young as ten in the fields working with their parents.
For more information on youth worker requirements visit the L&I website or contact them directly at 360-902-5316.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.