You might be wondering if there is special paperwork you need to start working. In the US, a minor getting a job with a paycheck does not always require special permitting. However, in some states the government does require proof-of age documentation to ensure that the employer is complying with child labor laws. This varies depending on the type of work. For instance, whether you are working in an establishment that serves alcohol, or if the job is especially hazardous, like mining (in Alabama, you must be over 18 to work in a mine. Talk about Copper banking!)
In some states, this documentation can be issued by your school. In others, it is issued by the Department of Labor. It may also require your guardian’s signature. A good place to start can be with your school’s guidance counselor, who can help you through this process.
It’s important to know that there are special protections for teens with jobs. In the United States, minors are not allowed to work under the age of 14 (with a few exceptions) and have limited hours they can work when they’re under 16. Federal law also bars anyone under 18 from working in jobs considered dangerous. Many child labor laws in the US were established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and you can use this tool on the Department of Labor website to see whether the Act covers your job.
Under federal law, workers who are under 20 years old have a lower minimum wage than older workers, but only for the first 90 days of employment. This temporary minimum wage for people under 20 is $4.25 per hour. The minimum wage for adults, and for teens after 90 days of employment, is the same: $7.25 per hour. If the local minimum wage is greater than the federal minimum, you are entitled to the higher amount. You also have a right to discuss how much you are paid with your fellow workers.
Your parents may also be able to help you with saving toward a goal. You could talk about making an arrangement to match the money that you are putting into your account—for instance, for every dollar that you save, your parents “match” with fifty cents or even a dollar. With Copper, your parents can track your progress as you earn and save money, and deposit money directly to your account.
If you get money for holidays and birthdays, congratulations! Even though it may be tempting to buy the latest game, pair of shoes, or concert tickets you’ve got your eye on, remember that these gifts can be a great resource to add to your savings and help you meet your savings goals! It’s a great idea to consider putting half of all gifts into your savings. You can even sell gift cards on CardCash, though you must be 18 to use their site.
They certainly can! At Copper we can help you open a bank account at any age. All you need to do is download our app, fill out some personal info, get your parent or guardian to do the same, and hit ‘Submit’. See our ultimate guide on banking for teens to dive even deeper into banking.