Overview of Child Labor Laws in Rhode Island

This article is a review of the different Child Labor laws in the State of Rhode Island that may affect a company if they choose to hire on teenagers under 17 years old.

Child Labor laws have been in effect for a long time in the United States. All states and the Federal Government have enacted some sort of law that protects minors from being taken advantage of in the workplace. This is why Rhode Island has some very strict child labor laws. These laws explain when a child can work, what jobs a child can actually perform, how old that child needs to be, and there are some restrictions a business has when a child works with them.

The first rule that every business must adhere to is that no child can get a work permit unless they are 14 years old, therefore the company cannot hire a younger child. In Rhode Island a 14 or 15 year old will need to go to the School Department and get a document called a “Special Permit to Work.”

How does the Child Get the Permit?

The child must first get a copy of “The Intent to Employ a Minor” which can be obtained from the school department or copied from the website of the Labor Standards. Then they will need a copy of the birth certificate to the person in charge of giving the document called the “Special Permit to Work.” Once this is done the child can take the document to their new employer, which the employer will keep in order to have proof that the child is old enough to work for the company.

What Can a Child Do for the Company?

There are many industries that can employ children, most of which are in food service or retail industries. There are a few details that a child can do, such as clean up, making errands or stocking. Each of these jobs does not require any special education and can be easily handled by a young person.

Restrictions to the Child Labor Laws in Rhode Island

A child under 17 years of age cannot work more than 48 hours, can’t work during school hours, and can’t work before 6 in the morning or after 11:30 at night. Additionally, children are forbidden to work certain jobs such as operation of heavy machinery, explosives, and basically any job that deals with hazardous machinery or substances. These rules have been set in place to ensure the safety of children and to ensure that they are not hired for dangerous jobs that they are clearly unprepared for as well as being untrained for.

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Ron Siojo
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Posted on Sep 6, 2010