Business news often reports that it’s difficult for teenagers to find work here in Texas but nonetheless, as summer approaches thousands of teenagers will enter the workforce, many for the first time.
This is an important first-step for teenagers who enter into these jobs each with their own set of expectations. Oftentimes those expectations are related solely to the money they’ll earn and what it can buy, not as their first life-lesson in developing a work ethic they will carry with them into adulthood. They are also inexperienced, most likely lacking in emotional or physical maturity, and don’t always recognize the differences between “right and wrong” in the workplace.
When working with teenagers, business owners, or their managers, find themselves filling the role of teacher, mentor and boss.
It’s very important that business owners have a clear understanding of state labor laws and safety issues that apply to underage workers.
Managers or other staff that may be in a position to supervise teens must also understand all applicable rules or regulations that apply to their role.
Lastly, underage workers need to understand their level of responsibility for their job, their own safety, and the safety of their co-workers.
Offenhauser believe that by developing strong, clear policies for employment at your business, you can reduce your risk for potential losses due to employer/employee misunderstandings, accidents on the job and failure to report infractions.
One way to educate your managers and supervisors, as well as provide important worker information to your teenaged employees, is by taking advantage of resources available to you by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the Texas labor department.
Here are links to a few of the free resources available to you.
- Directory of State Labor Divisions; or go to www.dol.gov and search for “State Labor Offices.”
- Visit the Young Workers page at the Department of Labor website to find resources for parents, teen workers, business owners and educators.
- Will your teen workers be driving? Don’t miss the Distracted Driving program.
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