Tips for parents
Starting a job is a big event in a teenager’s life. Many young people want to get a job and earn money. However, they are inexperienced and often afraid to ask questions. Parents may think someone is looking out for their children at work.
It is important to talk to your children about their rights and responsibilities on the job.
The minimum age of employment in Saskatchewan is 16. Youths aged 14 or 15 can work but must complete the Young Worker Readiness Certificate course and obtain a certificate of completion before beginning a job. The certificate, along with written consent from a parent or guardian, must be provided to you and kept on file.
Youths aged 14 or 15 also cannot work:
- more than 16 hours a week when school is in session
- after 10 p.m. on a day before school
- before classes start on any school day
These rules do not apply during school breaks (such as Christmas or Easter) and summer vacation. During breaks and vacations, youths aged 14 or 15 can work the same hours as other employees.
For more information, visit Saskatchewan Young Worker Readiness Certificate course
In Saskatchewan, section 3-3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 states the industries where youth cannot work.
People under 18 years of age cannot work:
- underground or in an open pit at a mine
- as a radiation worker
- in an asbestos process
- in a silica process
- in any activity that requires the use of an atmosphere supplying respirator
People under 16 years of age cannot work:
- on a construction site
- in a production process at a pulp mill, sawmill or woodworking establishment
- in a production process at a smelter, foundry, refinery or metal processing or fabricating operation
- in a confined space (such as a manhole)
- in a production process in a meat, fish or poultry processing plant
- in a forestry or logging operation
- on a drilling or servicing rig
- as an operator of powered mobile equipment (such as a forklift), a crane or a hoist
- if exposure to a chemical or biological substance is likely to endanger the health or safety of the young worker
- in power line construction or maintenance
Everyone in the workplace is legally responsible for workplace safety. Your children have three basic rights under the Saskatchewan Employment Act
|1. The right to know
what hazards are present in the workplace.
|2. The right to participate in keeping the workplace healthy and safe||3. The right to refuse work that they believe to be unusually dangerous to themselves and their co-workers|
Your children also have responsibilities in the workplace:
- The responsibility to work safely by using all machinery and equipment in the way they were trained.
- The responsibility to report health and safety concerns, including unsafe activities and conditions, to their supervisor and ask questions if they are unsure how to do something safely.
- The responsibility to properly use or wear protective devices and to not remove a guard or device designed to protect them.
- The responsibility to protect themselves and others from harm as much as possible and to not harass others at work.
Tell your child to wear safety gear. It’s the law!
- Start talking to your children about job safety when they start to look for work.
- Encourage them to ask about safety procedures when they go to a job interview.
- Tell them they should expect to get safety training when they start a new job and should not be afraid to refuse a task if they feel they will not be safe.
- Remind them that no job is worth an injury or worse. Fingers, eyes and life cannot be replaced.
- If your children are already working, find out as much as possible about the conditions in which they work.
- Talk to them about their jobs, not just the pay and benefits, but about the actual tasks. Use your built-in parent radar to detect potential risks and ask how safety is handled on the job.
- Help prevent workplace injuries. Let your children know you want them to say no to unsafe work and you’ll support them in that decision. As the saying goes – better safe than sorry.
Many parents assume their child works in a safe environment, has received proper health and safety training from their employer and will speak up if their workplace is unsafe. Don’t assume. Always ask questions. Here are some questions to consider:
- Were safety orientation training and information on rules of the workplace provided by your boss?
- Does your supervisor work in or near your work area?
- Does your supervisor provide on-the-job performance feedback, including information and advice on how to work safely?
- Do you report concerns to your supervisor? Do you feel comfortable in doing so?
- What tasks do you normally perform at work? Familiarize yourself with your child’s place of work, the people and the jobs they perform. Ask around and make sure you’re comfortable it’s a safe place to be. You are not the first parent to show up at your child’s workplace.
- Are you tired at work? Keep an eye on the balance in your child’s life. Teens develop cognitively and physically into their early 20s, so they have an increased need for sleep. A hurried cycle of full-time school, homework, social life and work, combined with a lack of rest, can create fatigue, leading to poor performance in school and increased risk of injury at work and while driving.
- Do you have to climb or work at heights? Do you lift and carry heavy objects? If the answer is yes, ask how they were trained and what equipment they use to do these things safely.
- Do you know what kind of protective equipment to wear and have you been trained to use it properly? You would not let your kids play hockey without full gear, so do not let them go to work without the right safety equipment (safety shoes, protective eyewear, a hairnet).
- Do you work with chemicals? Have you received training in their proper use? WHMIS training must be provided to workers using chemicals. Ask if they know about labels and material safety data sheets.
- Do you know what to do if you are injured at work? Remind your child to tell you if they are afraid of being hurt at work and to immediately report all injuries to their supervisor and to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board at www.wcbsask.com or 1.800.787.9288.
For more information:
To understand your OHS responsibilities and to orient and train young workers, visit Saskatchewan Safety in the Workplace or call 1.800.567.7233.
For information on employment standards, visit Saskatchewan Employment Standards or call 1.800.667.1783.
For compensation and prevention information for employers, go to the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board at wcbsask.com or call 1.800.667.7590. You can also visit the Employer Resource Centre (ERC) or contact the ERC at ERC@wcbsask.com or 1.833.961.0042