In a climate where employees are needed in the service industries, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob DuBois views the new Youth Employment System as a positive.
“The new Youth Employment System was developed to streamline and modernize the process of employing minors,” DuBois said. “Retiring out the old system of work permits made sense. It reduced a hurdle both for job-seeking minors and for employers. Once employers adjust to the new system, we believe they will find it much more efficient and easier to remain in compliance.”
Senate Act 409 dispenses with minor-employee work permits and requires employers who employ five or more minors under age 18 to register those employees in the Indiana Dept. of Labor’s new Youth Employment System, or YES. A total of 168 Noblesville employers have signed up.
The law went into effect July 1. The system went live June 1, which was earlier than originally anticipated, to give employers who meet the new law’s criteria time to set up accounts and begin using the system prior to July 1.
The state law change was made during the 2020 General Assembly’s legislative session, and most changes went into effect in 2020, with the exception of the work permit elimination and new registration system. According to the Indiana Dept. of Labor, those were delayed to give schools, the Bureau of Youth Employment and employers time to adequately prepare for the change.
Becky Terry, executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville, said the law has been successful in streamlining the process.
“This has allowed us to skip the third party (schools) and expedite the process,” Terry said. “It has also freed up more time for training and onboarding. We have found the new system easy to navigate and use.”
Michael Myers, director of the Indiana Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Youth Employment, said a broad outreach effort was made to inform employers about the change.
“After an employer has set up the business profile, they only need to input the minor’s name, age and hire date,” Myers stated. “Registering minors only takes about two minutes, and employers can access the registration app via a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.”
Upon termination of employment, the employer must remove the minor’s information from the YES active-employee registry. The employer will have three business days to complete each action.
Schools will continue to have the opportunity to monitor which employers are hiring minor employees in their communities through YES and can request public information in the system specific to their students. That will enable schools to continue to collaborate with employers to balance a student’s employment and academic performance throughout the school year.
The YES requirement does not impact the state’s work-hour requirement for minors. All employers must still comply with the Teen Work Hour Restrictions and Prohibited and Hazardous Occupation restrictions for minors.
“Difficult to hire minors”
Sam Tancredi, one of the partners in Ford’s Garage, said while the change is positive, it is still difficult to employ many minors in the Noblesville restaurant.
“The laws you have to adhere to as far as minors make it really difficult to hire minors,” Tancredi said. “It’s just so easy to break the law if you are not super diligent about it. Some of these (child labor) laws were made years ago because of abuse of young kids. If you don’t give someone a break in four hours and you are on a two-hour wait, it can slip by pretty easily. We don’t hire a lot of minors so we don’t have to worry about breaking those kinds of labor laws. But we have a few minors working for us. It might be a friend of a friend’s (teen) we hire. Our deal is, if your kid said we are not doing something right, you need to let us know. I’ve been in the business a long time, and when you think things are fine, they weren’t necessarily fine.
“You don’t really want them working around alcohol, either. There are just a lot of negatives in a busy restaurant that deter you from hiring minors.”
Tancredi said the jobs minors normally fill are hostesses, line cook and server assistants.