Teenagers in the workforce: vol. 1

Area managers support local teens working conditions


Photo utilized from pix4free.org

In the society we live in it has been increasingly common for teens 15 and older to start working. This leads us to the question of if teens are ready to balance work, school, and their social lives. This is part one of a three-part series exploring managers, teachers, and students’ opinions on teens working full-time and going to school full-time. This first installment covers managers’ thoughts about teens working and employment laws for teens.

According to MinimumWage.org, the minimum wage in Iowa is $7.25 an hour. Minors under 16 years old work fewer hours during school days because Iowa created restrictions for teens to keep up with their school, but minors between the age of 16 and 17 do not have any restrictions on working. 

“For Minors Under 16: When school is in session minors may work 4 hours per school day and up to 28 per week, 8 hours per day and 40 in a week are permitted when school is not in session. For Minors Ages 16 and 17: Iowa has no restrictions on maximum working hours for minors aged 16 and 17.” 

Many managers have different opinions on teens working full time and some just having a part-time job at their business. Some of the managers that spoke to the Echoes think it’s good for teens to start learning responsibility and balancing their schedules, so having a full or part-time job can be beneficial for them. All these managers follow their part of the laws of their teens working. Manager Leydi Rangel is a floor and housekeeping supervisor at The Courtyard by Marriott. Rangel takes strong consideration about teens working full time at her business. 

“I feel like it’s a lot of responsibility,” Rangel said. “They struggle to keep up with homework and work at the same time because they have to work more hours than they are supposed to. They come home and do homework and it’s very stressful.”

General Manager Amanda Walters at The Courtyard by Marriott and Team Leader Joey Camp Stangl at Arby’s in Pilot agreed about teens working and going to school full time because it would help teens have more experience in the future.

“I feel like it’s a good thing to have teens working even if they are going to school full time, it’s kind of nice for them to get some work experience and while they’re kind of younger, it makes it easier when they get older,” Stangl said.

Many managers have seen their teens struggling with mental health issues. While some managers know how to deal with this, some just try to give their teens a break while they calm down. Rangel feels very strongly about helping her teens since she also is dealing with mental health issues. Rangel explains how in her many years of working her general manager is someone who takes care of her teens so much. 

“I know what they are going through because I deal with mental health too. We try to listen to them and help with what we can. While working for a long time I have never seen a general manager like Amanda, she focuses on her staff and makes sure they are doing well and she cares so much about them,” Rangel says. 

Managers understand that teens need time off of work. It’s a matter of how teens ask for the time off. If teens are constantly calling out on days they are scheduled to work it leaves everyone else to struggle if they aren’t filling the position. If teens were to give time in advance so they were able to fill their positions then it wouldn’t be detrimental to the other employees. Training manager Mandi Smith trains managers for other stores at Sally’s Beauty Supplies.

¨I think as long as they ask ahead of time before the schedule is made I don’t have a problem with it,” Smith said. “It’s harder when they wait last minute to ask for that time off because then it affects everyone else’s schedule and it’s harder to get the shifts that they were supposed to work covered at that point.¨ 

It’s a common debate whether teens can balance working full time and going to school. Managers also can have a hard time making their schedules and filling in positions whenever teens call because of the fact that some teens need more time for school.

“School definitely is top priority so if they’re falling behind in school and that reason is due to work then I work with them, I want them to catch up on their work and their education is extremely important,” Walters said.