Well that explains why kids can't work in DC

My first regular paid job was as a cashier at the Winn-Dixie when I was 16. I had begun searching after reps from Bob Evans presented several openings at a rally at my high school, looking for dishwashers, bussers, and waiters. Several of us, including me, applied, but I wasn't chosen. That got me dropping applications at the mall, fast food joints, the dollar store, and the grocery store. During the school year I worked 11-20 hours, mostly weekends when the store was busy. Sometimes at night, cleaning the registers.
Anyway, I have always wondered why I don't see more teenagers working in DC. Well I got a link from DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY), and their handbook (PDF). Looking at page 12 it says a kid must be at least 14 years old and can't work more than 8 hours a day. Fine and good. However the work hours are limited for 16-17 year olds in that they can't work after 10pm, so they can't close up at a place that closes at 10PM, and those hours appear to be year round. Also, they would need a permit from DCPS to work. When I was growing up we didn't need no stinkin' work permit.
So now I see why teenage employment seems to be limited to DC government sponsored summer programs. That and the flood of immigrant and college student labor.
The job I held in high school was good for me. It taught me how to balance work and school, a very useful skill when doing the same thing in college when you really need the money. It also allowed me to work towards a savings goal of a senior European trip, because heaven knows I wasn't going to get that money from my parents... and college. Lastly, believe it or not I was able to use my 5 years of cashiering experience on resumes for jobs involving customer service. It has appeared in KSAs when showing that I can communicate verbally with a variety of people.


Wow. For a kid to get a job he has to 1) get the employer who wants to hire him to fax an "Intent to Hire" form to his high school, 2) have his parent come to the school to give consent or write a letter indicating so, 3) bring their birth certificate and social security card with them. I can't believe these requirements. Why would DC want to put up obstacles to employment for teens who are notoriously unmotivated to begin with?

Really nice blog post. Well said.

The rules and procedures for kids to work in DC aren't really different from what I had to do to get a job when I was a kid in Southwestern Virginia ... I had to have a work permit, could only work a certain number of hours (depending upon day and time of year), and had to have Dad go and sign a form for me. These policies are there to protect the kids ... otherwise they'd be taken advantage of (just like we adults are in our jobs)

Leave a comment