The law has special protections in place for minor employees meant to protect them, and you should take full advantage of them.
Working as a teen comes with numerous benefits. Independence, building experience and connections, learning about personal finance, as well as securing significant future opportunities are among the reasons why teens should consider getting a job while in school.
But what happens if a minor worker gets injured on the job? Do they have the same rights as a regular employee? The short answer is yes, they do, and even more.
Minor Employees Are Entitled to Workers Compensation
The definition of “employee” under Missouri’s workers’ compensation law includes minors. That means that if an underage employee gets injured while performing work duties, then they have the right to file for workers’ compensation and receive benefits. We advise you to work with a St. Louis work injury lawyer, as there are special protections in place for minor workers that you may not be aware of.
How a Work Injury Affects Future Earning Capacity
One of the first things that the law considers is how a work injury will affect the teen’s future earning capacity. If he suffers debilitating injuries that prevent him from ever working again, then the benefits will be calculated so that he receives the maximum compensation possible.
This is because most teens work for lower wages, and it would be unfair for them to receive benefits based on that low cost for their entire life. This form of protection is also meant to discourage employers from hiring inexperienced workers or asking minors to perform dangerous tasks.
Additional Protections for Teen Workers
According to the law in Missouri, minor employees shouldn’t perform certain jobs or work during certain hours of the day. Most people believe that if they broke this rule, then they aren’t entitled to compensation. That is incorrect. The law protects children from exploitation, so teens employed illegally are still generally entitled to receive benefits for their work injuries.
Work Safety Tips for Teenagers
What can be done to keep teenage workers safe on the job? There are several things parents and employers can do to assist.
- Talk to your teens about the importance of safety in the workplace and stress that they should never do anything that makes them uncomfortable or risks their safety.
- Encourage them to speak up if they see something unsafe happening at work or are ever asked to do something that makes them feel unsafe.
- Make sure they know who to go to at their job if they have any questions or concerns about safety. This could be their supervisor, the human resources department, or even you.
- Teach them how to spot a potential hazard in the workplace and how to report it.
- Ensure your teen employees are properly trained on safety procedures before starting their job. This training should be specific to their job duties and should be regularly refreshed.
- Create a workplace safety culture by leading by example and holding all employees accountable for following safety procedures.
- Make sure all workplace hazards are identified and properly addressed. This includes having proper signage and warning labels in place, providing safety equipment and training, and ensuring that work areas are free of potential hazards.
- Schedule regular safety check-ins and inspections, especially in high-risk workplace areas.
Work with a Work Injury Lawyer
Holding down a job as a teen encourages a healthy transition to adulthood. But because minor workers are often inexperienced and exploited by their employers, a work injury can affect their entire adult life.
A St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer can educate you on your rights and help you file your claim or file one on your behalf. The law has special protections in place for minor employees meant to protect them, and you should take full advantage of them. A lawyer can ensure that you will receive the compensation you deserve.
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