Employing minors on your farm? Be sure to understand the rules


With the school year coming to a close in the next few weeks, many students will be looking for employment on farms to do a variety of tasks ranging from baling hay to milking cows to operating machinery.
Are all students allowed to operate machinery, handle livestock, apply chemicals or work unlimited hours?
For the most part, the answer is no to all of these.
Laws and regulations. As an employer, it is your responsibility to understand the laws and regulations pertaining to the employment of minors.
The Ohio Revised Code, Fair Labor Standards Act and the Secretary of Labor all have rules and regulations in place for the protection of minors.
The next few paragraphs will provide you with an overview of the regulations and references for additional information.
Who is covered? The employment of minors under age 16 is subject to federal requirements set by the Fair Labor Standards Act and the agriculture requirements are less than for many other industries.
In 1967, the U.S. Secretary of Labor determined that certain jobs in agriculture are hazardous to children less than 16 years of age.
However, like many other federal regulations, there are exemptions.
These include the employment of children less than 16 years of age when employed on farms owned or operated by their parents or guardians and those who have completed an approved tractor and machinery certification course.
In addition to federal hazardous occupation regulations, there are also state regulations.
For most Ohio laws, a person under the age of 18 is considered a minor and the Ohio Revised Code prohibits minors from working in certain hazardous jobs related to agriculture.
The Ohio list of hazardous occupations is the same as the federal list, but the Ohio code sections and related regulations say the Ohio hazardous occupation list applies to those under 16 years of age.
There are many sections of the Ohio Revised Code concerned with the employment of minors that do not apply to minors employed on farms.
These include obtaining an age and schooling certificate (unless you employ children of migrant workers); keeping a list of minor employees; and paying the minimum wage.
When can minors work? Under the federal regulations, minors under 16 years of age may not be employed during school hours unless employed by their parent or guardian.
Unless provided a special exemption, minors are subject to the following restrictions:

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