Alabama Child Labor Law Changes
Earlier this year, the Alabama Legislature passed the Child Labor Reform Act of 2009. The lawyers in Sirote's Labor & Employment Group have received a number of questions about the changes from our clients who regularly employ minors. There were some small changes to the substantive provisions regarding the hours of work and the prohibited occupations. However, the primary changes relate to the permitting process and record-keeping requirements for employers. The full text of the Act can be found at Alabama Code § 25-8-32, et seq. Here is a summary of the primary changes to the law:
New Requirement for Certificates
Individual work permits for each minor employed are no longer required. Instead, an employer must purchase a certificate from the Alabama Department of Labor fir each location where it will employ minors. A Class I Certificate is required for each location where the employer will employ minors ages 14 or 15, and a Class II Certificate is required for each location where the employer will employ minors ages 16 or 17. The certificates, which must be renewed annually, cost $15 and may be purchased online at www.labor.alabama.gov.
Eligibility to Work Form
If an employer will employ minors under 16 years of age, the employer must receive and maintain an 'eligibility to work" form for each such employee. Similar to the old work permits, these forms are issued to the students by schools. The forms certify that the students have satisfactory grades and attendance in order to be eligible for employment. The employer must maintain the "eligibility to work" form in each 14 and 15 year old employee's personnel file.
Additional Record-Keeping and Posting Requirements
Each employer must now keep on the premises at which a minor is employed a separate file for each minor employee. The file must include the employee's name, home address, date of birth, date of hire, proof of age, school of attendance, and time records that state the number of hours worked each day, including the employee's starting and ending times, as well as break times. The employer must keep these records on file for no less than three years.
Along with the new record-keeping requirements, there is a new Child Labor Law poster. At every location where minors work, the employer must display the new poster.
New Break Period Requirement
Employees under 16 years of age who are employed for more than 5 continuous hours must now be given a documented break period of at least 30 minutes for a meal or rest. The break period is applicable whether or not school is in session. There is no similar break provision fir employees age 16 and older.
Penalties for Violation
If your business employs minors, you must be sure that you are in compliance with these new provisions. Of course, you must also be in compliance with the long-standing restrictions on the number of hours and types of occupations which may be worked by minors. Violators of the child labor laws may be subjected to civil penalties from $50 to $5,000 depending upon the nature of the violation.