New Jersey has just enacted a new law that makes it easier for teenagers to get summer employment through the working papers process. Perhaps the changes will help businesses to add much-needed employees in a tight labor market, at least in the summer.

The new law (Assembly bill A4222) covers a good bit of ground but helps in two principal ways. First, a minor between ages 16 and 18 may work up to 50 hours per week, up from 40, and 10 hours per day. This provision is in effect right now.

Second, the process for issuing the traditional "working papers" needed for youth employment will be taken away from the schools and changed to a new database to be constructed in the Department of Labor. This is supposed to happen by June 2023. We can only hope that the database is built on a more modern and robust technology structure than the antiquated systems that have caused such havoc with Unemployment Insurance.  Registration of minors and specified  changes will be required of employers and minor employees in certain circumstances.

Hopefully this law will give teens an easier pathway to summer employment and more pay by virtue of being able to work longer hours each week. At the same time it should help employers, especially service businesses and resort areas, that need service workers.

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