General Question

augustlan's avatar

Is it legal (in Maryland) to have a 17 year old work a 12 hour, overnight shift?

Asked by augustlan (47711points) November 15th, 2011

On Thanksgiving night, the big box store where my daughter works is opening at 12 AM for Black Friday. They’ve scheduled her to work from 11 PM Thanksgiving night to 11 AM Friday morning. Which sucks. My question is, is it legal?

I found this statement ”A minor may not be employed to transfer monetary funds in any amount between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m…” on the Employment of Minors Fact Sheet. I’m not sure what they mean by “transfer monetary funds”, though, so I’m not even sure if it applies.

Are there any laws restricting her from working overnight?

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26 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Unless there are specific laws in your state prohibiting it, I doubt there is any restriction, although perhaps she cannot be a cashier during those hours. She better get overtime and breaks though.

JLeslie's avatar

Hmmm, we definitely need to know what transfer funds means. I know that when I had my working permit in MD, supposedly I was not allowed to work as late as I did. The mall was open until 9:30, and that was later than what was stated by law from what I remember. Somehow we got around it. Not sure if it was because we broke the law, or if it was because there was some exception? But, I this was when I was 14. I worked after I was out of high school, 17, and I don’t even remember getting work permits at that age. But my memory might be fuzzy.

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, where did you see that line? This looks significant to me for the question from your link:

A minor 14 or 15 years of age may not be employed or permitted to work before 7:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. A minor may be employed or permitted to work until 9:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age may spend no more than 12 hours in a combination of school hours and work hours each day. They must also be allowed at least 8 consecutive hours of non-work, non-school time in each 24-hour period.

Minors 14 through 17 years of age may not be employed or permitted to work more than 5 hours continuously without a non-working period of at least ½ hour.

I don’t see a restriction for 17 year olds about how late they can work. I’m missing it. It does say she cannot work more than 8 hours, so I say she cannot work a 12 hour shift. You can’t split it into two days because it happens over two days in my opinion. Children are protected to have rest time inbetween shifts, a shift being 8 hours.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Technically she is working 2 days for that 12 hour shift, so I think it is legal, unless there are laws against a minor working past a given hour each night.
Whether it is ethical or not is another question.

augustlan's avatar

@zenvelo She is a cashier, and as far as I know, that’s what they’ll have her doing that night, too. They haven’t mentioned any bonus pay for working overnight, but she wouldn’t get overtime, I don’t think, because she won’t be working more than 40 hours in the week.

@JLeslie The line I quoted above is in the section titled “OCCUPATIONS FORBIDDEN MINORS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE”, at the very, very end.

JLeslie's avatar

I just noticed that what I said about 8 consecutive hours applies to 14 and 15 year olds, so she can work 12, As long as she does not have school those days, but must have 8 hours off. The company should know these laws. Is it a large company? With an HR department?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@JLeslie if you work more than 10 hours in a given shift, you are supposed to get overtime pay. Doesn’t matter if that is the only shift you worked that week. Because she starts her shift on a legal holiday, she should be entitled to holiday pay.

There are exceptions to the 10 hour shift rule, if you only have a 3 or 4 day work week it doesn’t apply.

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan Now I see it. I would have never thought to find it there. What an odd law.

augustlan's avatar

It is a very large company, and I’m sure they know the laws. What I’m not sure about is if they A) always realize the age of the person they are scheduling or B) actually follow the law, even if they do know. I’m guessing that it is legal, but just double checking to be on the safe side.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@augustlan if it isn’t legal it is not your daughter that will be in trouble. Don’t worry about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@WestRiverrat That must vary by state. In FL overtime was required after 40 hours in a work week.

@augustlan Do you want her to be able to work it? I really think I worked illegally when I was 14. I mean past the hours usually allowed. Very few people worked in the mall when they were that young.

JLeslie's avatar

This is basically what I was talking about with my Q here. I am disgusted by these hours, even for adults, unless they normally work third shift. Please don’t be offended if you are ok with it.

augustlan's avatar

@JLeslie I would greatly prefer that she not work that shift, and she’s incredibly upset that they’ve scheduled her for it. However, they’ve told the employees that there will be no shift changes allowed, that they’ve scheduled the employees that are best equipped to handle each particular shift, and that to refuse to work during the holiday season is an offense that will likely get you fired. I thought I might find a legal loophole to get her out of it.

I worked at the mall illegally, too, when I was 14. The Christmas season was awful… but nothing like this.

Also, I had missed your earlier question. Thanks for the link! I just cross-posted over there, too. :)

JLeslie's avatar

I would call tomorrow, call the number on your link, and find out the law for sure. I find government offices to be very helpful with things like this usually. Once you find out the law, maybe she can just say they may not have realized she is 17 when they did the schedule. And, let them do the right thing without causing a big stir.

Will she be very upset if she loses the job? If it is illegal she won’t lose the job most likely, they will be too nervous they scheduled her illegally. Does she have a copy of the schedule? Keep a copy.

JLeslie's avatar

Is school considered in session over Thanksgiving weekend? I wonder if out of session only counts for summer break?

JLeslie's avatar

Is there anyone who would want to trade shifts with her? Maybe she can have that at the ready when she talks to them, if she does.

Honestly, I think all the employees should refuse to work. But, that is really going back to my other Q I linked.

augustlan's avatar

I would think that Thanksgiving wouldn’t be considered a “school in session” time. I will call the place tomorrow, and get the facts.

She’d be upset if she got fired, but it would almost be a relief. She is torn between wanting to quit and wanting to stay. She likes the job and the people, but is already sleep deprived between working and carrying a heavy load of AP classes and her extra-curricular stuff. She probably won’t get any sleep before working the big Thanksgiving shift, either. She’s pretty much incapable napping during the day. :(

They won’t let them trade shifts for Black Friday. Not an option.

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan I know you stated they can’t trade shifts, but if it turns out to be illegal for her to work it, they may appreciate her being able to offer up someone else. Just a thought. I am hoping the store asked for volunteers though, before they forced people into this shift.

The other thought is if she is allowed 8 hours, then she can offer to come in for 8 I guess. There is a huge difference between working 8 and working 12 when it is retail on your feet, moving heavy things.

If she is on the fence anyway I think she should tell them what she is willing to do take it or leave it if she has no stand legally.

AstroChuck's avatar

Regarding child labor laws in the state of Maryland:

Minors 16 and 17 years of age:
May spend no more than 12 hours in a combination of school hours and work hours each day.
Must be allowed at least 8 consecutive hours of non-work, non-school time in each 24 hour period.
May not be permitted to work more than 5 consecutive hours without a non-working period of at least 30 minutes.

She should have gotten a job in California. She would restricted to 8 hours on a non-school day. (Only 4 hours on a school day.)

augustlan's avatar

@AstroChuck Of course the shift, since it’s not on a school day, does fit into those parameters (assuming they will be given paid breaks). To my mind though, it’s even worse than a school day, since she’ll be busy all day with family events (which she doesn’t want to miss), and will have no opportunity to sleep anywhere close to 8 hours before her shift starts. Even if she could manage to nap, which she can’t. The whole thing is so depressing to me.

YARNLADY's avatar

As per @AstroChuck On a non-school day the California Work Permit says it is not allowed. She should contact the Board of Employment to find out for sure.

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zenvelo's avatar

Check you local laws on overtime. In California you have to pay overtime after 8 hours, even if you work less than 40 hours per week.

JLeslie's avatar

Since many jellies have brought up overtime, it looks like MD requires it after 40 hours, the state does not seem to have an 8 hour a day rule. That type of law is usually scene in very unionized states, and California has a work law for everything (my husband used to hate dealing with California, he works in HR).

marinelife's avatar

Sign up on Facebook with the 88,000 other Americans protesting Target’s opening at midnight on Thanksgiving night. Here is the petition.

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife Thanks. I signed it. I don’t think anything will change until people stop shopping or employees revolt.

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