Teens & Tweens | Your Child’s First Job

This is the time to learn new skills, gain responsibility, and make a little extra money.

If the words, “Can I have some money for…” have started to wear on you (and your bank account), then it might be time for your teen to start looking for their first job. The idea of money in your teen’s pocket might be enticing, but if you find yourself in a space of anticipation and anxiety at the thought of your child clocking in for the first time, know you aren’t alone!

When can my teen start to work in the state of Ohio? 

First off, it’s important to know when your teen is eligible to start working in the state of Ohio and what the restrictions are. Children ages 14 and 15 are restricted to 3 hours of work per school day, 8 hours per non-school day with a limit of 18 hours per school week and 40 hours per non-school week. That is, unless employment is incidental to bona fide programs of vocational cooperative training, work-study or other work-oriented programs with the purpose of educating students, and the program meets standards established by the state board of education. They also may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. except for June 1 through September 1, or during any school holiday of five days or more, when that increases to 9 p.m. 

Sixteen and 17 year olds have more work eligibility, but are not able to work before 7 a.m. on any day that school is in session, or 6 a.m. if the person was not employed after 8 p.m. the previous night. Also, they may not work after 11 p.m. on any night preceding a day that school is in session. 

How can we fit one more thing into our busy schedules? 

With sports and extracurriculars and all the things, you and your teen might be wondering where in the world you will even find those extra hours in the day. The great news is that lots of employers are willing to work with teens and their schedules. Employers need reliable help and your teen needs money — it’s a win-win. Be sure to tell your teen to be upfront about their schedule and availability when applying for the job. Let the employer know what days aren’t going to work, and what days will work. This is a great opportunity for your teen to learn the importance of planning ahead, time management and good communication when it comes time to request days off. 

How many hours should I let my teen work per week? 

Each state has different laws that are put in place to protect your child from being overworked at a young age. But just because your teen can work that many hours a week, doesn’t mean that is necessarily what is good for them or your family.  Make sure you and your teen discuss what is reasonable for them at this time in their lives. While making money and having a job are important and do provide a lot of wonderful skills that will be beneficial throughout life, there are still other things that take precedence, like school and other family priorities. Be sure you set realistic goals and also know you can dial back at any time if it is starting to feel like you are in over your head.

How do I let my teen take the lead when looking for a job? 

If your teen has expressed interest in applying for a job, be sure to let them know they’ve got this and they are fully capable. Talk to them about how to request an application, how to fill it out properly, what to wear to work, showing up on time and anything else that may go with the job description. The important thing is to equip them to take the initiative and do these things on their own. If they feel nervous about asking for the application, you can walk in with them and let them know where you will be standing if they need to find you — but assure them they can do it! Sometimes, it takes a little nudging, but once they see what they are capable of, it might just open their eyes to a world of endless possibilities. 

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