Many states have special Workers’ Compensation provisions for minors, but Delaware is not one of them. Some states exempt seasonal workers, the types of jobs in which minors often find employment when school is out, but Delaware does not. Delaware requires any employer with even one worker to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, and the only exception is for farm workers.
If your minor child works on a farm over the summer, they are not covered by Workers’ Compensation, unless their employer chooses to purchase insurance. Otherwise, they are subject to the same Workers’ Compensation laws as adults in the state.
Delaware Child Labor Laws
Delaware does have strict child labor laws, which relate to Workers’ Compensation. Minors cannot work until they are at least 14, and all minors under age 18 require work permits. If a minor changes employers, they must obtain a new work permit.
Hours and types of work differ for those aged 14 and 15, compared to those who are 16 and 17. Those aged 14 and 15 cannot work more than four hours a day on a school day, and more than eight hours on a non-school day. They are limited to working 18 hours weekly when school is in session, for five days of that week, and they cannot work more than six days a week.
At these ages, minors cannot work before 7am or after 7pm, although they may work until 9pm during the summer, when school is out. Once a minor turns 16 they may not work more than 12 hours in combination of school and work hours, daily. They must have at least eight consecutive hours of non-work and non-school time in each 24-hour day.
Injuries, Workers’ Compensation, and Minors
If a minor is injured on the job, their parents’ health insurance coverage does not kick in. Instead, they must go through the Workers’ Compensation system, in which the employer’s insurance pays for their medical care, and the employer chooses which doctor they can see.
If it turns out that the employer hired the minor without a work permit, they face penalties, and that may include having to pay for the minor’s medical expenses out of pocket, rather than through their Workers’ Compensation insurance.
If the minor did have a proper work permit, but was working longer than permitted for their age under Delaware’s child labor laws, the employer can expect the state’s child labor investigators to look into the situation, and they may face additional penalties.
In states in which minors have special protection under Workers’ Compensation, those receiving severe and permanent injuries may take future earning capacity into consideration during settlements. A young person whose future career is restricted because of such an injury could receive a considerable settlement.
But that is not the case in Delaware under the Worker’s Compensation program, because of the lack of such provisions. That means if the minor or their parents want to sue the employer, they must do so outside of the Delaware Workers’ Compensation insurance system.
Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Legal Representation to Injured Workers
If you, your minor child, or another loved one was seriously injured while on the job, you need the services of the experienced Delaware Workplace Injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free case consultation.