Legal requirements for work

Written by mona johnson
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Before an employee can begin working, he will need to have a valid Social Security number and to fill out the W-9 tax form, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. Depending on the field of work, training and certification may be required. Workers must be paid a minimum wage and given a break of some type by their employers.

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Valid Social Security Number

A valid Social Security number is required to work in the United States. It is illegal for a business to hire an individual who does not have a valid Social Security number, visa or business identification number of some type.

Tax Forms

To legally work in the United States, each employee must fill out tax forms. Some employees do not have to pay personal income tax, depending on the state they live and work in, but all businesses pay business tax. Therefore the employer must have tax forms such as a W-9 completed and signed by the employee before they can begin working. This also applies to freelancers and contract workers. All employees and employers must file taxes.

Legal Working Age

State laws sets age requirements for individuals to work. The legal working age in most states is 14, and a work permit must be obtained from the minor's school. If a person applying for a position is not of legal age, they may not work. Some establishments cannot hire minors, such as bars, because they serve alcoholic beverages.

Proper Training and Certification

The law requires all nurses receive proper training before they can work. For example, all advanced practical nurses must be trained to administer medication. The training teaches them what types of medication should be used for different medical conditions and the correct dosage each patient can receive. Prospective nurses must pass their state boards before they can work in their chosen field. Similarly, prospective teachers require a teaching certification. The type of certification the educator receives will determine what grade levels and subjects she may teach. In some states such as Ohio, teachers must have a clean criminal background record. Certification is required on top of an education degree.

Wages and Breaks

Employers are legally required to pay their employees minimum wage for the hours they work. The amount of minimum wage varies by state. In addition to pay, there are other legal requirements, such as proper breaks, to protect workers. Federal law does not require employers to provide a paid lunch or meal break for those workers who have worked a full work day. However, 24 states do mandate a paid lunch break. The law does require that the employers who provide short non-meal breaks to their employees, between five and 20 minutes, pay the employees for these breaks. These breaks are considered work time, and the worker is legally allowed to receive pay for these breaks.

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