HR Hot Topics: June 2023 Edition

Welcome to the June edition of HR Hot Topics!


It’s a gorgeous summer day, and it actually coincides really nicely with the topic I wanted to talk with you all about, which is employing youth during the summer. You can bet both of my kids have jobs this summer because that’s just how I roll. And I know that’s not a surprise to many of you. So for folks like you who might be employing kids like mine, there are some rules that you need to know about.


There’s the Youth Employment Standards Act that really governs how an employer is to interact with students ages 14 to 17 – that’s going to be the focus today. If you own your own business and you are employing your own family members, none of these rules apply to you. I’m mainly talking about individuals who you’re not directly related to. And it’s for those who are 14 to 17 years old who have most of the rules. So rule number one, your youth have to have a work permit, even though it’s the summertime and they may be getting out of school and not have a class schedule to worry about, they still have to have a work permit. Work permits come from the school directly – the student would go to their school, they would get this work permit, and then they would bring the permit to you.


You would keep that on file for the duration of their employment. If you have a student who is homeschooled, they would still get the work permit from their local school even if it’s a school that they’re not actually attending. So that’s the first thing you need to know. There are some prohibitions on the kinds of work that your students can be doing during the summer months here – actually year round. But the focus of today is the summer months.


I’ll tell you a quick story about this.


I got my first paying job when I was 16, working at a golf course. I had babysat for years before that, but that was all under the table. It was like the best kind of job, right? So I’m working at this golf course – I got hired to be the dishwasher, and then within my first week, the cook quit. I got a $3 raise, and I became a short order cook and learned all of that on the job. It was a great summertime job. And there were a lot of things that I could do at 16. I could use the knives, I could work on the flat top griddle, but could not use the meat slicer. That was a prohibited task. There are a whole list of tasks like that, that are prohibited depending on the age of your worker. I will link to all of those in the email message. So just keep an eye on that.


Another one talking about how youth might be slightly different from your other employees has to do with their interaction with alcohol. If you’re a place of business that receives more than 50% of your revenue from alcohol, then you can’t employ youth. If that’s not the split and you get 50% or more from food or you know, in my case, golf services or that kind of thing, then that’s fine. You can have youth working for you, but they can’t work with the alcohol or around the alcohol.


Just a quick funny story here. My very favorite employee at the golf course while I was working there happened to be the bartender. This was a bit of a problem because, well, for a lot of reasons, for those of you who know me. But I used to like to go chat her up, like when there was downtime, when there were no orders coming through, I would want to go chat her up. Well, that’s a no-no, right? Because I was 16 years old and I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the alcohol. Every time the manager walked through, I had to like duck down or quickly runaway because I wasn’t supposed to be back there. So there are some rules like that. Just make sure that you check that list of prohibited tasks, make sure that you’re complying with those.


And now, I’ll end with the questions I get asked the most, which have to do with breaks and working hours. Again, I’m talking to you specifically about what is required during the summer months, because when your students go back to school, if they’re still going to work for you, even if it’s very, very part-time, there are more stringent requirements when the employee is in school. But during the summer, your youth can work five consecutive hours before they need a break. The breaks have to be 30 minutes long, uninterrupted.


Keep that in mind as you’re scheduling, and you do have to keep record of their working hours and their breaks. There are also some limitations on how many hours in a day and a week the youth can work, and it’s dependent upon their age. Your 14 and 15 year old employees can work a maximum of eight hours a day, a maximum of 40 hours a week, and as late as 9:00 PM. Your 16 and 17 year olds have a little bit more leeway. They can work up to 10 hours a day, 48 hours in a week, and they can work up to 10:30 PM on weeknights. On the weekends, their quitting time is extended by another hour, 11:30 PM. So a bit more flexibility there. Again, I will link to a lot of this information in the email message. The Department of Labor actually has a really nice FAQ on this that I think will hit most of your other questions.


I want to just thank all of you before I let you go. We did a webinar last month and it was the six biggest mistakes new leaders make and how to avoid them. We had 200 people register for that webinar, which was mind blowing because I’ve never produced my own webinar before. I’ve spoken on other people’s webinars, but it was really cool to come up with my own topic and put it out into the world and for so many of you to sign up to see it, and then send such kind words afterwards. The content was solid. I’m glad that I delivered on that. If you did sign up but couldn’t watch it live, check your email inbox because we did record it and you should have the recording sitting there waiting for you to view.


So thank you to all of you! We’re going to do more of that, right? It was well received. I think it’s a great way to kind of get out in front and continue to add value for all of you that interact with us. And so you can expect more webinars like that in the future on other compelling topics. I don’t know what they’ll be yet, but it’ll be great. And then the final thing just to preview for next month, I will not be coming to you live from my back porch. It will be even better. I will one up it next month. I’ll be coming to you from Italy. So my husband has a sabbatical this year, and we’re taking our two girls to Europe for three weeks.


I want to make sure that I don’t miss our monthly time together. These videos are really important to me, and I want to make sure that I hit your inbox expectation every month. But I’m going to film next month’s on my phone from somewhere beautiful along the coast of Italy. If you’ve never been abroad or you’re just pining for some really beautiful scenery, be sure to tune in next month. And I’ll bring it to you live. Maybe I’ll do a little tour! Until then, of course, if you have questions, you can reach me directly at Thanks for being here!