Michigan Child Labor Laws

January 8th 2024

The employment of minors holds great significance as it offers valuable opportunities for skill development, responsibility, and financial independence.

In the state of Michigan, child labor laws are in place to ensure that young workers can gain these experiences while being protected from potential risks and exploitation.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of child labor regulations in Michigan, delving into important aspects such as age restrictions, limitations on work hours, prohibitions on hazardous or exploitative work, and industry-specific guidelines.

This article covers:


Employment Age for Minors in Michigan

In most occupations in Michigan, individuals must be at least 14 years old to work, unless they qualify for an exemption under the Youth Employment Standards Act (YESA).

For minors who are not exempt from the act, obtaining a work permit is necessary before they can commence employment.

Minors are generally permitted to work in various job roles, with the exception of occupations that are deemed hazardous and prohibited under the relevant regulations.

Working Permit for Minors in Michigan

In order for minors in Michigan to engage in employment, they are required to obtain a Michigan work permit, agreement, or contract that is signed by both their employer and the chief administrator of their school. 

If they switch jobs, a new permit is necessary. 

Additionally, if a minor’s academic performance is subpar, their permit may be revoked.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) offers two types of permits: Michigan CA-6 Work Permit for minors under 16 years and Michigan CA-7 Work Permit for minors 16 to 17 years

Working Hours for Minors in Michigan

In Michigan, there are certain restrictions on the hours that minors may work. The permissible working hours for minors vary depending on their age. 

Minors who are under the age of 16 in Michigan can work from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., for a maximum of 10 hours per day and 6 days per week. During the school term, they are restricted to working an average of 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week, and the combined total of school and work hours cannot exceed 48 hours. 

Minors aged 16 and 17 can work between 6 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. on days when school is in session, and until 11:30 p.m. on days when school is not in session. Similar limitations on the number of hours and days of work apply to minors aged 16 and 17 as those that apply to minors under 16. However, under certain circumstances, there is a greater range of working hours available to minors aged 16 and 17.

Tracking work hours for employed minors is a vital step in ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations. Modern tools like time tracking software and time and attendance software enable precise monitoring, allowing for a delicate balance between work and education.

Supervision of Minors Working in Michigan

Employing a minor in Michigan is only permissible if there is supervision provided by the employer or another adult employee who is at least 18 years old.

Supervision entails being present on the premises to oversee and guide the work of minors, as well as providing assistance in case of emergencies.

It is important to note that specific penalties are imposed for employing minors in positions that involve cash transactions after sunset or 8:00 p.m., whichever comes earlier, without the necessary supervision in place.

Michigan Payment Laws for Minors

Wages in Michigan must be paid on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, or semimonthly basis.

The minimum hourly wage rate in Michigan for individuals aged 18 and older is $10.10 per hour. Minors between the ages of 16 and 17 may be paid a subminimum wage, which is equal to 85% of the minimum hourly wage rate.

If minors receive tips, they must be paid an hourly rate of at least 38% of the minimum wage rate. It is required to obtain signed and dated tip statements prior to payday. At the end of each pay period, the combined total of hourly wages and declared tips must be equal to or greater than the minimum hourly wage rate. If it falls short, the employer must make up the difference.

Break Requirements for Minors in Michigan

It is mandated in Michigan that minors must not be employed continuously for more than 5 hours without a minimum 30-minute interval for a meal and rest period.

It should be noted that an interval shorter than 30 minutes will not be considered as interrupting the continuous period of work.

Banned Jobs for Minors in Michigan

Under the Youth Employment Standards Act (YESA), specific occupations are regulated to ensure the safety of minors by prohibiting their employment in hazardous environments. Some of these prohibited occupations include:

  • Working in establishments where alcohol is sold, served, or consumed.
  • Engaging in tasks within confined spaces such as silos, sewers, or boiler rooms.
  • Participating in any construction operations.
  • Handling explosives.
  • Operating motor vehicles and power-driven machinery.

Workplace Notices Requirements for Child Employees in Michigan

Employers in Michigan are required to post specific posters in their workplace to inform employees about their rights and responsibilities. 

When employing minors, a youth employment poster must be placed on the work premise in a conspicuous location where employees can easily see and read them.

It’s important to underscore that records and timesheets also serve as mechanisms for holding employers accountable for their treatment of child laborers. Furthermore, the data generated by time clock software is invaluable for child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for more robust protections and regulations. Ultimately, this advocacy contributes to the overall well-being and future prospects of child workers.

Sanctions for Violating Minors Employment Laws in Michigan

In Michigan, violation of the Youth Employment Standards Act constitutes a misdemeanor offense and carries penalties of up to 1 year of imprisonment, a fine of $500.00, or a combination of both. 

Penalties are even more severe for violations related to adult supervision. 

It is important to note that in addition to state regulations, many employers and their employees under the age of 18 in Michigan are also subject to federal rules and regulations, which must be adhered to.

In cases where both federal and state laws are applicable, it is necessary to adhere to the more stringent standard.

Minors who feel like they have been wrongly treated at work may file a YESA complaint with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Michigan and your rights as an hourly employee in Michigan. Learn more about Michigan Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.