Face Off: Extend work hours for younger teens

Given Lee

Given Lee

Given Lee, Reporter

The law should be changed in Indiana to let 15-year-olds work later.

Lowering the age requirement for working past 7 p.m. on school nights would have endless benefits. Restaurants desperate for workers would be able to hire and have more hours out of a wider variety of new employees. The would also create more work experience for kids and potential college application content.

More children who are in need of jobs would be more likely to get hired since they can work later. Restaurant workers who are under 16 would be less of a liability. The advantages for all involved would be endless, especially in the post-Covid world. 

The current maximum for teenagers number of hours for younger teens to work would not have to change. Twenty hours or fewer is a reasonable time commitment. Changing how late high school students under 16 can work would not necessarily have to interfere with this time requirement. Employers can still have shifts based on age. The only change would be that when it is needed teenagers under 16 can work until 10 p.m. just as kids who are 16 now can do.

Obviously there is a debate on whether or not it is healthy for teenagers to be working late since they need more sleep. However, there is no difference between a student athlete being in practice or at a game or meet until 10 p.m. on a school night and a student employee working until 10. In fact, a practice is far more physically demanding than a serving as a local restaurant hostess or doing a busboy’s job.

The question is not whether or not it is right for a 15-year-old to work until 10, but why wouldn’t a student who chooses to work not be able to choose what time they can handle?