The independence of 16 is something most children look forward to, but for military children, that same independence often comes with unique challenges for military families.
As parents, we all want the best for our children, but as parents to teens that have grown up in the military community and have moved across the country (or world!) at least once, we often recognize that things are quite different than if we would have raised our children in our hometown.
Where can he or she even look for a job and what will they need?
Thanks to new technology, gone are the days where we simply picked up a newspaper to look for local job listings. Today, teens are using Snag (formerly Snagajob), which has a job board that was designed with teens in mind.
Another great place to find an entry level position is the Facebook Job tab within the Marketplace.
For college students and beyond, LinkedIn is a great place for young adults to start networking and to look for entry level and beyond positions.
If your child is under the age of 18, they will likely need a working permit to legally work in your state. Where you need to go to obtain a work permit may vary by location, but some high schools are able to issue working permits from their offices.
What are some common things we need to watch out for as we send our kids off to work?
The most common violation that employers will try to get away with is to allow your child to work past the time that is legally allotted by your state for their age group.
Some employers require their employees to wear uniforms, and some states allow the employer to pass along the expense of purchasing and/or maintaining the uniform, though generally if doing so puts your child below the minimum wage threshold, it is illegal.
Other states prohibit employers from mandating that their employees purchase uniform items that have logos and cannot be used as normal street wear and some even prohibit employers from passing along uniform expenses to the employee at all.
Finally, it’s important to talk to our children after their shifts to ensure their workplace is a safe environment for them and using precautions as necessary, such as using gloves to clean.
How do we advocate for our children as they grow up and join the workforce without overstepping?
The best thing that we can do is teach our children how to advocate for themselves and others in school and on the job. Unless their employer is doing something blatantly illegal, the best thing we can do is give our children the social skills to stand up for themselves when they need something at work or they feel that something isn’t safe or fair.
If the employer is making more serious violations, a great resource to start with is Nolo.com, which often explains the law in easy to understand terms, as well as give ideas on what to do or where to go next – for military families that move so often from state to state, this is an extremely valuable resource, as they cover multiple areas of law.