Employers in Alberta may hire teenage workers younger than 18 years. However, employment law in this regard is strict, and many requirements must be met. The protection is even more stringent for hiring workers younger than 15 years.
The employment standards for 12 to 14-year-old workers are generally the same as for older workers. That includes rules related to vacations, general holidays, termination pay or notice and minimum wage laws. But employers of younger workers must carefully control workplace hazards and perform frequent hazard assessments.
Exceptions to rules for employment of youth workers
The rules for hiring teenagers apply only to actual employees. They don’t cover volunteers or self-employed contractors. Youth workers on ranches and farms typically follow similar rules as their co-workers.
Employees up to age 12
Children age 12 and younger may only work in the field of artistic endeavours. Furthermore, government permits are required. Restrictions and work hours are typically determined at the time of the permit approval. Additionally, these workers must have the consent of a parent or guardian.
13- and 14-year-old workers
Workers who are 13 or 14 years old can work in any of the following jobs without having to obtain a permit:
- Delivery of merchandise and small retail items
- Delivery of handbills, newspapers and flyers
- Messenger or clerk in a retail store or office
- Minor janitorial duties in offices
- Tutorial work or coaching at associations or recreational clubs
For all other jobs, including work in the field of artistic endeavors, a permit must be obtained. Moreover, the consent of a parent or guardian is required for all jobs.
Restaurant or other food-service establishments
In this industry, youth workers must have continuous adult supervision, and there is strict control over their work hours. The following are the tasks 13- and 14-year-old workers may do in a restaurant:
- Cleaning tables and bussing
- Washing dishes
- Assembling food orders
- Customer service
- Mopping and sweeping
Work hour limitations
Youth workers of ages 13 and 14 may not work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Only two working hours outside of school hours are allowed on school days, and up to eight-hour shifts on non-school days.
Employers in Alberta who want to employ young workers would be well–advised to ensure they comply with all aspects of employment law as it applies to youth workers’ jobs, hours and safety.