Child labor laws are very serious in Michigan and must be respected. They were put in place to protect children, ensuring that they could not be exploited — as they had so often in the past. For all workers under 18, there are special rules that employers must follow. 

It’s important to note that these rules do not just apply to who is allowed to work or how many hours they can put in during the week. They may also apply to the very hours that an underage worker can be on the clock. 

For instance, under Michigan law, a person who is 15 years old or younger is not allowed to work after 9:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m. If that person works at a coffee shop that opens at 5:30 a.m. to accommodate the morning rush hour traffic, for instance, they cannot come into work at the very moment of opening. The general idea here is to prevent young workers from being forced to work overnight — a shift that few workers want to take — but it also applies to daytime shifts that start early or run late. 

For workers who are 16 and 17 years old, there are also restrictions. They cannot work until later than 10:30 p.m. if it is a school night and they are enrolled in school. They also cannot work before 6:00 a.m. If they are on vacation from school or if it is a weekend, the night deadline gets extended to 11:30 p.m. Those who are not going to school at all get to use this 11:30 p.m. deadline all the time, but they still cannot work before 6:00 a.m. until they turn 18. 

It’s important to keep these laws and regulations in mind, as having children work when they’re too young or at times when it is prohibited can qualify as abuse. Those facing such accusations need to know what options they have.