Employment of Minors

Any individual under 18 years of age is considered a minor. This includes minors who are enrolled in college.

Laws and Regulations that Apply to Employment of Minor

As a starting point, minors are covered by the same employment laws and policies that apply to adults. Minors also are protected by the additional requirements of child labor laws and child protection laws.

The federal government website has information about federal child labor laws and related resources. 
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website offers details FAQs about child labor laws.  
Refer to the Office of Human Resources- Student Employment for additional detailed information. 

Basic Requirements for Employing a Minor

  1. Any employee or appointee who may have direct contact with the minor must have satisfactory child protection clearances on file with the Office of Human Resources. The exception would be that if the minor is not enrolled in a secondary institution and is a matriculated student enrolled at the University, child protection clearances would not be required by law, but could be required at the discretion of the hiring department. These clearances can take some time to get processed, so it is important to start this process well before a minor commences employment. Refer to the FAQ page for information on the definition of direct contact with children and how to obtain and submit child protection clearances.
  2. Any employee or volunteer who may have direct contact with the minor should take the following online child protection training course.
  3. Minors under the age of 14 may not be employed, except in very limited circumstances (such as delivery of newspapers/caddying) which are unlikely to occur at the University.
  4. A minor is prohibited from performing work in certain establishments or involving certain hazardous duties. Some of these prohibitions vary depending on the minor's age. Information on the duties that are prohibited under state law may be found in the Prohibited Occupations Under the Child Labor Act. Take particular note of the prohibitions against working on certain power driven machines and of the EH&S guidance on restricted areas.
  5. A minor's hours of employment are subject to limitations, which vary depending on the minor's age and whether the minor's school is in session. Review information on the restrictions on the hours of employment.
  6. A minor must have a valid work permit. Prior to employing a minor, an employer must verify the original work permit and retain a copy for the employer's records. Accordingly, the hiring unit must verify the original work permit, save a copy for the hiring unit's files and forward a copy to the Office of Human Resources - Student Employment along with other onboarding paperwork.
  7. If a minor is under the age of 16, the employer must complete and the minor's parent or legal guardian must sign a Parental Acknowledgement of Minor's Duties and Hours of Employment form. The original of this signed form must be retained by the employer with a copy of the work permit. Accordingly, the hiring unit must complete this form, obtain a signature on the form from a parent or legal guardian, retain the original and forward a copy to the Office of Human Resources-Student Employment along with other onboarding paperwork.
  8. Within five days of commencement of employment, the employer (the hiring unit) must provide written notification of the minor's employment and normal hours and duties to the individual who issued the work permit. A copy of this letter must be retained with the work permit and, if the minor is under age 16, with the original Parental Acknowledgment. Accordingly, the hiring unit must timely provide this written notification, retain a copy and forward a copy to the Office of Human Resources-Student Employment.
  9. The employer (the hiring unit) must post the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Abstract of the Child Labor law in a conspicuous place in the building or area where a minor works.
  10. The employer (the hiring unit) must maintain certain records regarding minor employees, including:
    • a list of all minors employed by the employer
    • a schedule of hours of labor of minors, including the maximum number of hours each minor is required or permitted to work each day of the weeks, the weekly total of hours actually worked by each minor, the daily hours for commencing and stopping and for time allowed for meals
    • copy of the work permit, original of parental acknowledgment if applicable, copy of written notice of employment and work schedule to individual who issued permit
  11. Within five days of a minor's termination from employment, the employer (the hiring unit) must provide written notification to the individual who issued the minor's work permit. Accordingly, the hiring unit must provide this written notification, retain a copy and forward a copy to the Office of Human Resources - Student Employment.

High School Students and Research Experience

High school students who perform services in a laboratory must be paid employees under long-standing policy (University Policy and Procedure 09-09-02). The sections of this policy describing requirements/processes for employing minors have been suspended because they do not reflect the latest child labor law requirements that have been summarized in these guidelines. However, the basic requirement in Policy 09-09-02 that high school students who perform services in laboratories must be paid employees of the University is still consistent with the law, and therefore is still in effect. Employment is not required for minors who are not performing services, but rather are participating in bona fide educational programs, such as grant funded summer academies or academic camps, which have been registered with the Office of Human Resources and have been designed consistent with the Department of Labor's test in its fact sheet.

Hiring a Minor at Pitt

Before any minor may be offered employment, the hiring unit must review these guidelines and the related links. Pittsource, the University's automated recruiting system for hiring student employs must be used for all hiring, including the hiring of minors. The hiring proposal process in Pittsourse will require documentation including the unit, building and area where the minor would work, the nature of any hazards in the workplace, the specific duties that the minor would perform, the hourly rate of pay, the proposed weekly and daily work schedule of the minor, the individuals who would have direct contact with the minor and the process for selecting the minor.

Contact the Office of Human Resources, Student Employment Division at: Stuemp89@pitt.edu or 412-624-7000 option 3 with questions.