How many hours can a minor be employed in the state of California? This is an interesting question. The answer depends on a variety of factors. Most importantly, the court must determine if the minor is capable of performing the required tasks necessary to perform work and can receive a reasonable allowance for working hours based on the wages earned.
First, we will examine the work hours under the work rule. If a parent is seeking a modification to their child custody agreement to include more time with the child, they are required to submit proof of how many work hours the child would have otherwise performed during the period of the proposed agreement. The best way to provide this evidence is to submit copies of timecards from school or daycare that shows the child’s work hours. These types of documentation do not have to be submitted with the court approval, but most request it anyway.
Second, we will look at the factors considered by the court in determining the work hours. Generally speaking, a parent seeking a work hour reduction must show that the decrease was caused by unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the parent. It need not be shown that the parent intended to lessen the work hours. For example, a parent may be required to take two unpaid sick days per year because of a worker’s compensation claim. The court could consider the fact that the parent made no attempt to secure alternative work, such as overtime, and adjust the work hours accordingly.
Third, we will look at factors used to adjust hourly rates and salaries for workers who regularly work more than the statutory maximum or regular rate established by the California labor code. For workers who regularly exceed the maximum daily and weekly hours specified by the California labor code, the state will impose a cap on the percentage of those hours that the employer shall compensate. In this instance, if a parent works twelve hours per day, then the employer is required to make up for that excess time through overtime. This factor is meant to prevent employers from trying to “game” the system and keep employees from bringing claims.
Fourth, we will address factors used to adjust vacation hours and vacation days. In this instance, a parent is not permitted to count vacation time toward the working hours worked or reduce the number of working hours worked in a one-week period. The court may, however, allow a parent to take a vacation if necessary to resolve an issue, etc. A parent may also be permitted a reasonable holiday break (such as a holiday consisting of two workdays instead of four) in order to help reduce the number of hours worked. Finally, in order to determine how many hours a minor can work in one calendar year, the court must take into account any vacation time not taken. (The vacation entitlement may not exceed 15 days per calendar year.)
These limits on how many hours a child care provider can work are intended to be reasonable. They are designed to help ensure the best possible working conditions for all involved. To that end, they are also intended to minimize unnecessary labor and ensure that the most suitable care is provided for children. As such, you should be very careful when dealing with the issue of how many hours worked. If you know for sure that a child care provider is asking you how many hours you worked under the table or otherwise providing false information, you should report them immediately. You may be doing the children a favor as well as providing some peace of mind.