Young workers covered by employment standards

By Charles Strachey

June 14, 2016 8:09 AM

Dear Working Wise:
I’m adding an outdoor patio to my café this summer and need a little extra help. I am considering hiring my nephew, but I’m wondering if there are any issues related to hiring a 14 year old?
Signed, Anxious Owner
Dear Concerned:
Young workers are covered by the same employment standards, e.g., holiday pay and minimum wage, as other workers, but there are some special rules employers should know when it comes to employing people under the age of 18.
The restrictions for young workers involve hours of work and supervision.
To learn more, visit and click on the Employees Under Age 18 fact sheet or call the Alberta Employment Standards helpline at 1-877-427-3731.
Adolescent Albertans, aged 12-14, can work in the following approved jobs:
• office messenger or clerk;
• delivery person (e.g., flyers, flowers);
• retail store clerk (e.g., music store); and
• certain jobs in the restaurant and food-service industry, with restrictions.
Adolescents may host/hostess, cashier, wash dishes, bus tables, wait tables, provide customer service, assemble orders and clean.
But, they can not accept work that may harm their life, health, education or welfare.
For these reasons, adolescents can not:
• sell liquor in licensed premises;
• work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
• work during normal school hours;
• work without continuous adult supervision;
• work for longer than two hours on a school day;
• work for longer than eight hours on a non-school day; or
• use or work near dangerous equipment such as deep fryers, grills or slicers.
Adolescents may be able to take on other jobs, but the employer must first apply for a Permit to Employ an Adolescent through
Employers and parents are responsible for ensuring that adolescents are competent and safe.
Parents must give the employer written consent before employment begins.
Employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code to keep young workers safe by:
• completing a written hazard assessment;
• controlling or eliminating all safety hazards;
• ensuring the health and safety of the employee; and
• warning the adolescent about any hazards that may affect him or her.
Teens, ages 15 to 17, have fewer restrictions and are free to take on more types of jobs, but they are subject to special conditions as well.
For tips on keeping younger workers safe at work, visit and click on Young Workers.
Good luck!
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

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