Do Labor Laws Apply in Family Business

March 18th, 2022

Family businesses can become a bit complicated when looking into how labor laws apply to them. It can be tempting to take a more relaxed approach when employing family members, but skirting the line of legality can blur the boundaries for your non-familial employees as well. To avoid becoming entangled in any legal trouble, you are better off following the rules to the letter.

Joseph, Greenwald, and Laake, PA can give you the resources to keep your family’s business protected and out of trouble, and to do so you need to know what the law requires.

What the Law Permits

Family businesses are allowed to employ relatives under the age of 18, but the Fair Labor Standards Act puts certain requirements in place to ensure children are working in safe conditions, and that their education or social life is not being compromised. Family employees under the age of 18 are put into three classifications: under 14, 14-15-year-olds, and employees that are 16 to 17 years of age. These groupings help the government more effectively establish legislation for each age group.

In the state of Maryland, minors under the age of 14 are typically not permitted to work, but an exception is made if it is a family business. To ensure no minors work beyond a reasonable capacity, different age groupings have their own restrictions for the number of hours they are allowed to work per day or week:

  • Minors in the under 14 group, and the 14-15 group, can work up to 40 hours a week when school is not in session, but cannot exceed 18 hours per week during the school year.
  • The regulations for the 16-17 age group are not as strict, allowing minors to commit to no more than 12 hours of a combination of work and school per day, and must be allowed at least 8 consecutive hours of non-work, non-school, time in a 24-hour period.

Just as the federal and state governments can place regulations on the number of hours children work, they also restrict what jobs they can work. Any job that involves dangerous equipment, hazardous tools, and access to materials that can cause harm is prohibited for child employees. If the business is a family restaurant, for example, children should be kept away from deep fryers, knives, and any stove equipment.

State officials may pay routine visits to ensure that safe practices are being followed and regulations are not being encroached upon. In the case that anything is found amiss during one of these inspections, your best defense is having good legal representation.

JGL Will Defend You like You’re Family

With decades of experience under our belts, Joseph Greenwald and Lake PA can help create a defense for your case to get you to the best outcome possible. If your family business has any questions about legal requirements or is involved in litigation, schedule a consultation now or call us at 301-220-2200 to find out more about your options.

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