Whitten Bumbalough

All workers should be made aware of the rights that they are given at their jobs.

Maliha Kareem, Reporter

High school students often take up part time jobs; this is why it is crucial that teens are informed of their rights as worker. Too often these rights are not reviewed by teens before picking up a part time job, causing future predicaments.

In the United States there is a list of laws regarding treatment of employees, specifically teens. Beginning at age 14, there are federal laws implemented and regulated in the US. Teens have a limit to hours they are legally able to work. For example, ages 14 and 15 can work legally 18 hours a week during the school year, but not over three hours a day or eight hours on Fridays. Students who are 16 and 17 years old can work 48 hours a week; hours differ over holiday seasons and when school is not in session.

Anonymous says, “I started working at thirteen, and if I could offer advice to younger teens I would say don’t start working early. I know you want your own money, but the second you start you are no longer a kid, it’s intense. I work full time hours with hardly having breaks along with balancing high school.”

Employers are responsible for offering a safe working environment, training and equipment. Thus, the path to success of both the employer and the employee both parties must work together and have clear communication.

Senior Ivie Brown says, “It’s important to know what you can handle before picking up a job, along with your availability. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I was surprised by the amount of hours I was allowed to work because I felt like I could do more.”

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, 1.7 million people earned below the minimum wage. Although the Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, it can vary among states. In Florida the minimum wage is $8.05 and $5.03 for tipped workers as of 2016. If an employee working for tips earns below the minimum wage, the employer is by law required under federal law to pay the difference.

Senior John Makin says, “I never looked up the worker rights before I started working and this will sound hypocritical, but it is important to do your research. There are people who will unfortunately try to take advantage of you if you are not informed.”

If these rights are at anytime violated, employees can refuse service and speak to a person higher in power at the service or report problems to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the Department of Labor.