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Each year, thousands of working teens find value in employment far beyond financial necessity. Attributes teenage workers may develop include a stronger work ethic, increased responsibility and time management skills. Employers also benefit from the teens hard work and eagerness to learn, and have an opportunity to develop them into future full-time employees. The success of the relationship between the employer and teen workers depends on the importance both place on a safe working environment.

Although employment of teens provides many benefits, the potential for serious injury and death must not be ignored or denied. Teenage workers are killed or seriously injured at work each year. Employers, teens and parents must increase their awareness of the laws governing child labor and take a proactive approach to ensure all teens are afforded the right to work safely.

Child labor laws

Injuries and illnesses

  • The most common injuries to minors are cuts from glass or knives, burns from hot grease or liquids, and sprains and strains from lifting. Falls on wet or slippery floors are also a common cause of injuries.

  • Serious injuries and severe cuts or amputations can result from use of power mixers or meat slicers, and during work on conveyors.

  • Reported fatalities often involve work on construction sites and driving.

  • View/print flyer:  Minnesota workers' compensation teen claim characteristics, 2018-2020

Find answers to frequently asked questions

Tips for teen workers, tips for parents of teen workers

Tips for teen workers

  1. Ask questions. Take safety seriously and protect yourself.

  2. You have the right to work in a safe and healthful work environment free of recognized hazards.

  3. Know that you have the right to refuse unsafe work tasks and conditions.

  4. Know that you have the right to file complaints with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry when you feel your rights have been violated or your safety has been jeopardized.

  5. In the event of a work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to workers' compensation.

  6. Obtain information about workers' rights and responsibilities from school counselors and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

  7. Participate in any training programs offered by your employer. Request training if none is offered.

Tips for parents of teen workers

  1. Talk with your teen about his or her job. Ask for information about what responsibilities he or she handles and any change in duties and equipment.

  2. Visit the workplace to see how it is maintained and how workers are treated.

  3. Be alert to warning signs of danger, such as late hours, unsupervised workers and employee injuries.

  4. Take note not only of your child's duties, but also of his or her coworkers. Other employees often ask their fellow employees to handle a task for them.

  5. Let the manager know the hours you have set for your teen to work.

  6. Ask teachers to notify you if they see a decline in grades, attendance or attention. Do not wait for the report card to learn about problems.

  7. Have your child keep a record of wages received and a daily record of hours worked, including starting and end times.

State and federal child labor laws

Employers are generally subject to both state child labor laws and the federal child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Certain Minnesota child labor laws are more protective than federal law and vice versa. Employers covered by both Minnesota child labor laws and the federal FLSA must follow the most protective provisions that apply to their employees. Visit for more information about federal child labor law.

For more information

Contact us at, 651-284-5075 or 800-342-5354.