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Youth Worker Information Hub

Youth Workers Bill of Rights

As you enter the world of work it is important that you know your rights under the law. All workers in New York State have rights no matter their age, immigration status, or work authorization. Workers who are younger than 18 have additional rights to protect their safety at work and their time to rest and learn outside of the workplace.

1- You have the right to receive your full paycheck on time

Your employer must pay you on payday for all the hours you worked. Payday is a regularly scheduled day every week or every month when workers are paid for the hours they worked.

2- You have the right to earn the minimum wage

Your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage for each hour you work. The minimum wage is the lowest amount of money your employer can legally pay you for each hour you work.

The minimum wage is different depending on where in New York State you work and what job you are doing. Learn more about the minimum wage by scrolling down to the Minimum Wage section on this page

3- You have the right to receive a paystub

Your employer must give you a digital or paper paystub every time you are paid. A paystub is a document that details the amount you earned, the hours you worked, and any taxes taken out of your paycheck.

4- You have the right to a safe workplace

If your employer asks you to do something that poses a risk of serious injury or death you have the right to say no.

Workers under 18 years old cannot be hired or asked to do jobs the law says are too dangerous for young people. Learn more about the jobs workers younger than 18 cannot do by scrolling down to the Dangerous Jobs section on this page.

Learn more about what to do if you are injured by scrolling down to the Injured on the Job section on this page.

5- You have the right to keep any tips you receive

Your employer cannot take money from tips you receive. You have a right to keep any tips you receive either from customers or from tips pooled with your coworkers.

6- You have the right to take breaks

If you work 6 hours or more in a row, you have the right to at least one 30-minute break.

7- You have the right to a discrimination-free workplace

It is against the law to be treated unfairly or harassed at your job because of your race or ethnicity, sex, gender identity or gender expression, immigration status, or religion.

To learn more about discrimination in the workplace or to report discrimination or harassment at your job, visit the New York State Division of Human Rights Website.

8- You have the right to attend school

As a worker who is under 18 years old, your employer can not ask you to work during school hours.

9- You have the right to time to study and rest

As a worker who is under 18 years old, your employer can only ask you to work a limited number of hours, during certain times each week.

Your employer must keep track of your hours and post a schedule that clearly shows what hours you and any other workers who are younger than 18 are working. You should keep track of your hours as well.

Learn more about the hours you can work by scrolling down to the Working Hours section on this page.

10- You have the right to speak up

Your employer cannot fire or punish you for reporting a problem at your workplace.

If you think your employer is violating your workplace rights you can inform the New York State Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will only cite your employer for violations, not you or your family.

Learn more about how to file a complaint by scrolling down to the File a Complaint section on this page.

 

Download PDF of the YOUTH WORKERs BILL OF RIGHTS 

Download BILL OF RIGHTS POCKET GUIDE

Minimum Wage

New York State has a primary minimum wage for most workers. Workers in the service industry, the home healthcare industry, and a few very specific other industries, like janitors in residential buildings, have a different minimum wage. The minimum wage for most workers, tipped workers in the service industry, and tipped workers in the food service industry is presented at the top of the webpage linked below.  You can also find the minimum wage for some common jobs at NYSDOL Lookup Tool.

If your job has a different minimum wage, you can find it by referring to the Factsheets and Posters section at the bottom of the minimum wage web page linked below.

Please note that if you work only every once in a while as a part-time babysitter, you are not required to be paid the minimum wage.

The minimum wage will go up every year in January and can also change if elected leaders decide to make changes to the law so it is important to check back with our website for updates.

Find the minimum wage for your job here

Dangerous Jobs
Workers under 18 years old cannot be hired or asked to do jobs the law says are too dangerous. For example, you cannot be hired or asked to do roofing work or demolition work. You also cannot be hired or asked to work with dangerous machinery or dangerous chemicals. See the links below for a complete list of prohibited jobs.
Injured on the Job

All employers in New York State are required to buy workers compensation insurance for every person that works for them.  Workers compensation insurance makes sure that a worker who is injured on the job has their medical bills paid for and receives lost pay if they need to miss work because of a workplace injury.

If you are injured on the job, your employer must pay for your medical bills through their workers compensation insurance.  If you are unable to work because of a workplace injury, you should receive money from workers compensation insurance to make up for lost pay.  These are called your workers compensation benefits. If you are hurt at work you should let your employer know as soon as you can. If you do not let your employer know you were injured at work within 30 days you may lose your right to workers compensation benefits.  

You can file a claim for workers compensation benefits with the workers compensation board.

Working Hours

During weeks when school is in session, 14- and 15-years-olds can’t work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  You are limited to the following hours in most occupations:

-3 hours on any school day
-8 hours on a Saturday or a non-school day
-18 hours in any week
-6 days in any week

There are exceptions for babysitters, farm laborers, newspaper carriers, performers, and models.
When school is NOT in session, and during vacations, 14- and 15-year-olds can’t work between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. or more than 40 hours a week.

When school is in session, 16- and 17-year-olds are limited to the following hours:

- 4 hours preceding school days (Mon. to Thurs.)
- 8 hours (Fri. to Sun. & holidays)
- 28 hours in any week
- 6 days in any week

If you want to work between 10 p.m. and midnight on a day before school, you need written permission from a parent or guardian and a certificate of satisfactory academic standing from their school.
When school is not in session, and during vacations, 16- and 17-year-olds can’t work more than 48 hours or between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. If you work in two or more places in the same day or week, then the total time of work may not exceed the daily or weekly maximum.

Know Your Rights Videos

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Quick Tips

Young People Working
1. Be on time. Punctuality is important when people are counting on you.
2. Dress appropriately. Make sure your uniform is clean and not wrinkled. If there is no uniform, follow the employee dress code. 
3. Be social media conscious. When you interview for a job, your potential employer may look at your social media accounts. Make sure there isn’t anything on your accounts that could jeopardize your new job. Also, do not blast work drama on social media.
4. Seize the opportunity to build your skills. Your first job may not be your dream job, but it likely offers a chance to build essential “soft skills” that will be useful in many facets of your life. These skills include teamwork, leadership, communication, interpersonal, problem solving, and work ethic.

 

 

 

Quick Tips
For Dealing with Workplace Issues

Four young adults sit on a beach and enjoy a nice view
1. Talk to your boss. If you are unable to find a resolution by talking to a coworker, you can seek help from a supervisor or human resources. Before you approach your boss, determine exactly what you would like for your boss to do. Be prepared to offer specific solutions or requests as to how your boss can remedy the situation.
2. Talk to an adult. If you’re being harassed by a supervisor or asked to do dangerous tasks, it’s ok to talk to your parents, a guidance counselor, or any adult who can give advice or advocate on your behalf. 
3. It’s ok to walk away. If a job is simply not a good fit for you, there's nothing wrong with moving on—just be sure to have a back-up plan.
4. File a complaint. If you think your employer is violating your workplace rights you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor.  If you are experiencing harassment or discrimination in the workplace, you have the right to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights.
Filing a Complaint

If your employer has violated your workplace rights by:

  • not paying you the full amount of pay you are owed
  • not paying you the minimum wage
  • taking money from your tips or wages
  • making you work through your meal break
  • not paying you back for the cost of materials (for example, tools or uniforms) that you had to purchase in order to complete your job
  • or not paying for paid time off or sick leave

You can file a complaint with the Department of Labor by filling out this form: 

Labor Standards Complaint Form (LS223)

If your employer has violated your workplace rights by:

  • Hiring you to work in a job that the law says is too dangerous for workers under 18
  • Asking you to work during school hours or longer hours than allowed

You can file a complaint with the Department of Labor by filling out this form: 

Child Labor Complaint Form

 

As part of the complaint process, you will be asked to cooperate with the Department of Labor's investigation. If you need additional assistance to file your complaint, please call: 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365)