Many people associate workers’ compensation benefits with adults in potentially dangerous occupations like construction or older workers who suffer muscle strains and tears from doing the same physically demanding work day after day.
However, if your teen has a part-time job in a restaurant or store during the school year or a summer job as a local camp counselor, it’s important that they (and you) understand that they’re entitled to the same workers’ comp rights and benefits as full-time adult employees if they become injured or sick.
Minnesota law requires non-governmental employers to carry workers’ comp insurance or to self-insure. The law defines an employee as “any individual who performs services for another, for hire, including minors, part-time workers and workers who are not citizens,” with exceptions for farmers.
Working minors have rights – and additional protections
In most cases, the minimum age for a child to be employed in Minnesota is 14. Minors have the same rights to a safe and healthy workplace free from harassment and discrimination as adults. Their employers also have to abide by restrictions in the number of hours they’re allowed to work and the specific hours of the day. Employers are also prohibited from requiring minors to do certain potentially dangerous jobs.
Even if an employer is violating any of these laws, that doesn’t affect a teen’s right to get workers’ comp if they’re injured on the job. If your child has suffered a work-related injury or illness, make sure you and they know their rights. If an employer is making it difficult for your teen to seek workers’ compensation benefits or they’re having difficulty getting approved, having legal guidance can help.