Many types of businesses depend on teen workers. However, they often don’t take the same amount of time to train them and teach them safety protocols as they do with their full-time employees. That can place them at higher risk of suffering an injury on the job.
It’s important for minors and their parents to know that they have the same right to a safe workplace as their older co-workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even has a page on its website for young workers that discusses their rights and their employers’ responsibilities when it comes to a safe and healthy workplace.
Pennsylvania workers’ comp law
Minors also have the same right to workers’ compensation if they suffer a work-related injury or illness as adult workers. Pennsylvania law also stipulates that the right to workers’ comp applies even if an employer violated child labor laws or if a minor lied about their age to get a job. Of course, an employer might actively try to prevent a young person from applying for workers’ comp if it will bring that illegal employment to the attention of authorities.
Minors may also hesitate to report an injury if they misrepresented their age to get a job or to get more responsibilities or longer hours. Even when everything is perfectly above-board, teens may not want to “make a big deal” out of an injury.
Whatever the circumstances, if your child has been injured or sickened as a result of their work, they need to get appropriate medical care and apply for workers’ comp benefits to help cover medical expenses and a portion of their wages. If you’re having difficulty getting the benefits your child is due, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.