Child Labor Laws in Michigan
Michigan considers a minor to be anyone under age 18 who is not an emancipated minor and, with some exceptions, considers age 14 to be the minimum age to work in the state.
Minors aged 16 and up who have graduated high school or received an equivalency certificate, and minors aged 17 who pass the general educational development test, are not covered by this legislation. Employers are required to keep proof of graduation/certificates of their minor employees.
Minors in performances by performing arts organizations are not subject to Michigan child labor laws if the organization receives a letter of approval from the Department of Labor.
Covered minors under Michigan child labor law must obtain work permits before starting work, and work permits are not guaranteed to be issued by school officers. Employers must keep work permits on file. Even if a work permit is given, it can be revoked under certain conditions, such as poor academic or behavior at school.
Exceptions to the need for permits include some minors at least age 13 working in specific agricultural jobs and unpaid volunteers if the organization qualifies under the statute.
While rest breaks are not guaranteed for adult workers, minors may not work more than five continuous hours without at least a 30-minute break for meal and rest time.
Along with daily and weekly time worked limits, minors are restricted as to what hours of the day they can work. Most of the restrictions are to prevent working during school or the minor working so late that it interferes with rest for school the next day. Along with restrictions on hazardous jobs, minors are not allowed to work in any fixed location cash transaction job after 8 p.m. or sunset (whichever comes first) without another adult worker present.
Some minors are not subject to an alternative minimum wage. Those aged 16 and 17 can be paid under an 85% rule that allows an employer to pay 85% of the current minimum wage, or $8.20 per hour in 2020.
Employers can also pay new hire minors aged 16 to 19 years old a training wage of $4.25 per hour but only for the first 90 days that they are employed.