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Under-18 Employees and Your Restaurant Insurance

September 5, 2022

With a general shortage of seasonal workers in the labor market, more restaurants in New Jersey and beyond are hiring younger employees.

All states have specific rules governing the employment of people under 18. Those rules restrict where an under-18 person can work, what they can do, and how many hours they may do it in a given week. Most states have a sliding scale. In New Jersey, for example, a 12-year-old may not work in a restaurant, but a 14-year-old may. A 14-year-old may work no more than 3 hours per school day, and no more than 8 hours per day during non-school weeks. For a 16-year-old there is no difference between school and non-school weeks, but they may not work more than 8 hours per day and no later than 11 pm or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

All states have information posted on government websites and before hiring you should check out the dos and don’ts.

But what about insurance? Do you need specific restaurant insurance policy endorsements if you are hiring youngsters?

The short answer is most likely no…if you follow all state regulations regarding the hiring of young people, there should be no need for any age-specific insurance. However, whether you’re hiring someone who is 15, 25, or 35, it’s worth checking your restaurant insurance and confirming that you do have all that you need.

For example, most general liability insurance policies exclude employment practices liability. Thus, no matter how small your workforce, or how young, you should invest in Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). This will provide you and your staff with coverage if a claim is made against them or by them relating to any wrongful employment practice such as discrimination—including age—harassment and more.

Then there are specific rules regarding the serving of alcohol. First and foremost, if you do serve alcohol, you should have liquor liability insurance and, of course, you must adhere to the regulations associated with age limits and the preparation, selling, and serving of alcohol.

It’s always a good idea to talk to the experts—learn about the state regulations that will affect your restaurant hiring practices and talk to an agent or broker about your restaurant insurance. The last thing you want is to assume you have all the coverage you need only to be denied when you make a claim.

For more information on the best restaurant insurance coverage in New Jersey contact Vozza Agency.

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