When teens have a part-time job after school or work during the summer, they generally don’t anticipate getting hurt. However, even seemingly safe jobs in restaurants, grocery stores and the local country club can prove dangerous.
Teens too often don’t get the same level of training – including learning the proper safety protocols – as full-time employees, even though employers are required to provide that. They’re also more likely to ignore an injury and not report it because they don’t want their hours or responsibilities cut.
Virginia workers’ comp and labor laws
It’s important for teens and their parents to understand that most Virginia employers with at least two employees are required to provide workers’ compensation to all workers, including “part-time, seasonal and temporary workers, minors, trainees, immigrants and working family members.” Workers’ comp can include payment for missed wages if someone has to take time off of work as they heal in addition to coverage for medical care.
Virginia, like other states, limits the type of work that minors can do. The younger they are, the more restrictions they have. Younger teens are limited in how many hours they can work, how late at night they can work and more. Those who are 16 and 17 have more freedom than younger teens. However, they’re still not allowed to work in “any occupation determined to be hazardous or detrimental to an employee’s health.” This includes mining, logging, manufacturing and more.
Of course, the best scenario is for teens not to suffer any workplace injuries. They should get the training they need to safely do their job and not be afraid to speak up if they believe they’re being told to do something they’re not yet qualified for or that’s potentially dangerous. However, most parents know that their teens likely won’t do that.
If your teen has suffered an injury at work, it’s essential that they get the medical care they need. Make sure that you and they understand their right to seek workers’ compensation.