Most teens are in the workforce in some capacity. It might be a summer job lifeguarding or an after-school job working in a restaurant. Many teens spend their winter break picking up some extra money working at a Christmas tree lot or a local store.
If your teen is like most, they don’t give much thought to the risks they can face on the job. However, they can be even more at risk than full-time workers. Employers may not spend much time training them, making sure they have the proper equipment or being sure they know what to do if they are injured.
Teen worker rights and employer obligations according to OSHA
However, minors have the same right to a safe and healthy workplace as any other employee. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources on its website for workers who are under 18. It lists their rights, which include the right to speak up about safety concerns and report unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation or discrimination.
The federal safety agency also delineates the responsibilities of employers to young workers. These include providing “a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and following all OSHA safety and health standards.”
What does Pennsylvania law say about minors and workers’ comp?
Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law states that the right to workers’ compensation “shall not be affected by the fact that a minor is employed or is permitted to be employed in violation of the laws of this Commonwealth relating to the employment of minors, or that he obtained his employment by misrepresenting his age.”
If your child has suffered a work-related injury or illness, it’s crucial for them to get the medical care they need. It’s also important to understand that they have the same rights to workers’ compensation benefits – even if they are a temporary and/or part-time worker – as any other employee in their workplace. Be sure that you and your teen understand their rights so that you can assert them.