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Indiana Changes a Labor Law for Minor Employees

June 10, 2021

William E. Cartwright
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
(812) 759-3815
william.cartwright@skofirm.com

and

Michelle Robinson
Paralegal, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
(812) 452-3540
michelle.robinson@skofirm.com

Starting July 1, 2021, schools in Indiana will no longer issue work permits, and employers with minor employees will need to register with the Indiana Department of Labor.

Previously, employees under the age of 18 in Indiana had to obtain a work permit from their respective schools using information provided by the employers.  Effective July 1, 2021, under IC 22-2-18.1-26, Indiana schools will no longer issue those work permits; nor will they be responsible for reporting information about employed minors to the Indiana Department of Labor.  Instead, any employer who hires more than five minor employees per work site will be required to register on the state’s new Youth Employment System (YES) website (IC 22-2-18.1-26 and IC 22-2-18.127).  While employers are not required to register until July 1, 2021, the Department has made the system live now so that employers have ample time to register prior to the deadline. Each employer who intends to hire more than five minors per location will need to register on YES

The registration will be done in two phases.  The initial registration will need to be completed by the owner of the company employing the minors or a representative of the owner or company employing the minors. For the initial registration the employer or their representative will need to provide basic contact information for the business as a whole.  The employer or their representative will then input information for each individual location where more than five minor employees are working. This information will include naming a contact person for each location who is to be responsible for maintaining the information about the minor employees who work at that location.  The employer or their representative will need to enter the email address for each contact person at each location which will trigger the YES system to send an “invitation.”  Multiple people can be invited to have access to enter information for each location. The employer or their representative will need to ensure that the business information, list of locations with five or more minor employees, and the information for the contact person at each location are kept current. 

For the second phase of the registration, the person designated as the contact person for a location should receive an email invitation from the YES system. The contact person will need to follow the instructions in the email to gain access to the location profile and then add the information for each minor employee who works at that location.  The contact person in each location will need to keep the minor employee information on YES up-to-date.  Each time a minor employee begins working at the location or if a current employee’s information changes, the new information will need to be entered in YES.  Minor employees who, for whatever reason, are no longer working for the employer or at that location will need to be removed from the location list.  

Compliance with these new registration rules is important as the Indiana Department of Labor has authority to assess penalties and fees on those employers who do not comply with them.  If a violation is found during an initial inspection, an employer will receive a warning letter.  A $100 penalty will be assessed for any violation identified during any subsequent inspection made within a year of the date of the issuance of the warning letter.  A $200 penalty will be assessed per instance for a third violation within a year of the warning letter.  If a fourth or subsequent violation is identified the employer will be assessed a penalty of $400 per instance.  It is important to know that the time for the identification of a fourth or subsequent violation that would trigger the $400 per instance penalty extends to any inspection that takes place within two years after the inspection that identified the third violation.  (IC 22-2-18.1-30 (c) and IC 22-2-18.1-31 (b)). 

A word of caution as you consider who will be tasked with keeping the information in YES up-to-date: you will want to use the guidelines your company has in place for human resources and the handling of personal information to help you determine who will enter the information regarding the minor employees in YES.  Put another way, if someone in your organization would not ordinarily be given access to your employees’ personal information, that person should not be given access to enter information in YES. 

If the owner or the person setting up the location list is also the best person to maintain the information about the minor employees in each location, that will not be a problem. However, if a company has multiple locations and only one person is maintaining the information regarding the minor employees for each location, it is still very important to maintain a location list and enter the information for each minor employee under the correct location where that minor employee works.

You should know that the public can search the database, but only information about the employer is available to the public including the name and address of any company currently employing a minor and the general type business (restaurant, theme park, etc.).  However, no information regarding the minor employees is viewable by the general public.

The restrictions on work by age, number of hours a minor may work, and times that a minor may work haven’t been changed.  Under IC 22-2-18.1-22, every employer that employs one or more minors between the ages of 14 and 18 should keep posted a printed notice clearly stating these restrictions as provided by the Department.  A copy of this poster provided by the Indiana Department of Labor can be found here.

The Youth Employment System can be accessed on the Indiana Department of Labor’s website at https://er.dol.in.gov/. The link to Register an employer is at the bottom of that webpage.

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