14, 15-year-olds could work late on school nights under Ohio Senate bill

The bill was introduced in response to staff shortages in Ohio
In response to employee shortages in Ohio, the Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that could allow...
In response to employee shortages in Ohio, the Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that could allow people under the age of 16 to work past 7 p.m. on school nights.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 3:33 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - The Ohio Senate passed a bill Tuesday that could make it legal for 14 and 15-year-olds to work after 7 p.m., especially on school nights.

Senate Bill 251, introduced by senators Tim Schaffer (R-20) and Tina Maharath (R-3) in October 2021, unanimously passed the senate to revise the current Ohio law, which prohibits minors from working past 7 p.m.

The revisions will allow students that are 14 and 15 to work until 9 p.m. on a school night and for more than 18 hours a week while school is in session.

Additionally, S.B 251 would allow underage students to have more work opportunities on breaks and weekends:

  • Students that are 14 and 15 could work more than eight hours on non-school days.
  • Students that are 14 and 15 could work more than 40 hours per week when school is not in session.

Schaffer says the bill addresses staff shortages and could help Ohio businesses.

“Thirteen states currently allow youth under the age of 16 to work until 9:00 p.m. year-round, earning a good wage while providing local employers with consistent staff and helping small businesses keep their doors open,” Schaffer said.

While students under the age of 16 could be able to work longer hours, there are limitations businesses must follow:

  • Fourteen and 15-year-olds would not work more than 40 hours a week while in school.
  • Employers should not have students that are 14 or 15 working more than five hours in a row without giving them a 30-minute break.
  • Fourteen and 15-year-olds should not be working before 7 a.m. on a school day unless the employee is working at 6 a.m. and was not scheduled after 8 p.m. the night before.
  • Fourteen and 15-year-olds should not be working after 11 p.m. on a school night.

“This legislation reinforces the guardrails protecting 14 and 15-year-olds already in code,” Schaffer explained. “Ohio law says 14 and 15-year-olds may not work between 9:00 pm and 7:00 am, and no more than 3 hours a day and 18 hours a week while school is in session. These guardrails do not change under Senate Bill 251.”

The bill could be taken up by the House of Representatives as early as Wednesday.

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