Do any labor laws apply to work performed at a boarding school?

My nephew was sent to a boarding school, but the school is asking the students for help in repairing older buildings (and even in constructing a new building). The kids are not paid for their work. The school is a non-profit organization, and insists that the students who are helping out are volunteering by their own will and learning valuable skills. Although the school is non-profit, it does not own the campus. Rather, the school rents the property from a private owner (connected to the school). Is there any employer/employee relationship? And if it does just fall under volunteering, is there a maximum amount of hours that children are allowed to volunteer in a day/week?

Chelan, WA -

Attorney Answers (1)

Robert Daniel Kelly

Robert Daniel Kelly

Personal Injury Lawyer - Seattle, WA
Answered

I'd recommend interacting with the US Department of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/agerequ...) and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (http://www.lni.wa.gov/workplacerights/teenworkers/). The 2013 Washington minimum wage is $9.19. Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum wage ($7.81). Whether the children are truly volunteers or not is a question of fact that skillful lawyers might argue about for an extremely long time.

[In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does... more

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.