Wisconsin Eliminates Permitting Requirements for 16- and 17-Year-Old Workers

Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 25 (2017 Wisconsin Act 11) on Wednesday reducing burdens carried by employers that rely on teenage labor.  The law became effective June 23, 2017.

Teenage Fast Food WorkerUnder the revised law, “minor of permit age” will mean persons under 16 years of age.  This means 16- and 17-year-old applicants will no longer be required to obtain a work permit, street trade permit, or identification card before commencing work.  This change will also affect penalty provisions of the worker’s compensation law, which require employers to pay a monetary penalty when minor children are injured in a prohibited occupation.

The bill also allows the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to issue certificates of age, which may be used as conclusive evidence of age in labor law proceedings, for both minors and adults.  Under the previous law, only minors could obtain such certificates.  Finally, the bill repeals a section of the statue relating to licensing of theatrical exhibitions of minors under age 15.

Restaurants, grocers, retailers, and other industries relying on teenage labor should benefit from a more streamlined hiring process of older teens. The new bill does not change other provisions of the state child labor laws applying to older teenage workers, however.  Employers must continue to comply with laws governing breaks, length and timing of shifts, wages, and prohibited work, and prospective employee age 15 or younger are still required to obtain permits.  Also recall, when state and federal law overlap, the more stringent standard applies.

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