New Indiana law works to streamline youth hiring process by dropping permits from schools

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s new youth employment law is now in full effect.

Under the law, businesses now register employees under age 18 directly on a new state online database instead of waiting on work permits from schools.

For some teens, having a summer job is a big help.

“I don’t really have time during the school year to work, so you can make a lot of money and get a lot of hours doing this,” said Daniel Bryan, a lifeguard at the Krannert Aquatic Center in Indianapolis.

The law works to simplify and speed up the process for employers to bring people under age 18 on board.

“Before, the process may have taken one to two weeks to get that work permit back,” said Courtney Rogers, public information officer for Indy Parks. “It now just takes about one to two minutes to upload all that information to the state database.”

The law takes effect at a critical time for some employers.

Managers within Kroger are working to fill job openings in just about all of the company’s supermarkets in central Indiana, according to spokesperson Eric Halvorson.

“In a time for us when we are very much in need of associates in virtually all of our stores, the fact that we have this process will allow us to put people at work on a much faster pace,” Halvorson said.

Less than a week after the law took full effect, it’s already making an impact, according to State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper). Many more teen workers are now registered with the Indiana Department of Labor compared to when the old system was used.

“They’ve got over 6,200 employers that have registered over 48,000 youth employees,” said Messmer, who wrote the law.

“This is going to get better ability to track where those kids are employed,” he added.

Businesses could face a fine of up to $400 if they do not comply with the new law.

Teens and parents can also use the new online tool to find employers who are hiring workers under 18, State Sen. Messmer said.

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