My friend Dennis and I were hanging out at the mall one evening after dinner and I went inside BreadTalk to pick up some bread. As I was paying at the cashier…
Cashier Boy 1: *voice hasn’t broken yet* How many Fire Floss?
Cashier Boy 2: (replied in an equally squeaky voice) Three.
Cashier Boy 1: (in Mickey Mouse voice) That’ll be $X.XX total, thank you.
I paid for my Fire Floss buns and quickly grabbed Dennis by the arm, dragging him out of the bread store.
Me: ZOMG, did you see and hear those two cashier boys!? They look like… 10 or 11 years old! Small little kids, haven’t even hit puberty yet. Why are they working here???
Dennis: What? No la, they are not that young. You know I started working part-time jobs in these F&B chains when I was fourteen.
Me: WHUATTT!!!?!? That’s child labour yo! That’s crazy!
Dennis: No, the legal age to start working in Singapore is 14. It’s not child labor la, you’re thinking like an American.
Then I remember that oh yah, boys in Asia still look scrawny and short in their tween/early teen years. Lolx, I was being an accidental ageist. :X I guess I was startled seeing two very young boys who should be at home doing their homework instead of manning a cashier at a mall. Bwahaha, silly me.
I checked up on the legal working age in the US and this is what I got from the United States Department of Labor website:
The child labor provisions of the Act include restrictions on hours of work and occupations for youths under age 16. These provisions also set forth 17 hazardous occupations orders for jobs that the Secretary has declared too dangerous for those under age 18 to perform.
The permissible jobs and hours of work, by age, in nonfarm work are as follows:
- Minors age 18 or older are not subject to restrictions on jobs or hours.
- Minors age 16 and 17 may perform any job not declared hazardous by the Secretary, and are not subject to restrictions on hours.
- Minors age 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in various nonmanufacturing, non-mining, nonhazardous jobs listed by the Secretary in regulations published at 29 CFR Part 570 under the following conditions: no more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a non-school day, or 40 hours in a non-school week. In addition, they may not begin work before 7 a.m. or work after 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended until 9 p.m. The permissible work for 14 and 15 year olds is limited to those jobs in the retail, food service, and gasoline service establishments specifically listed in the Secretary’s regulations. Those enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) may work up to 23 hours in school weeks and three hours on school days (including during school hours).
How old were you when you had your first job?