Legal Considerations for Students Seeking Part-Time Jobs

Part-time jobs are perfect for students who want to start earning a living and gaining independence as soon as possible. College and academic obligations are a priority which is why working part-time is the best solution. It allows you to juggle between tasks and manage to maintain a balance in your daily activities.

However, not so many students who are seeking part-time jobs are aware of the important legal considerations. Below, we’ll cover the most important legal considerations you need to know about.

Working Hours per Week

One of the first legal considerations you should look into before accepting any job is the limitation in terms of working hours. How many working hours per week can you take on as a student? What is the minimum, and what is the maximum?

This is to ensure your employer isn’t forcing you to work more than the legally defined limitation or not to lose your visa in case you’re an international student.

This number should revolve around 20 hours of work per week. It’s ideal for not interfering with your studies and allowing you to stay academically strong. But, statistics show that more students work 20 to 34 hours per week- 20% of full-time and 34% of part-time students.

However, if you’re an international student in the USA, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours on-campus during classes season and 40 hours when there are no classes.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage rate for students working part-time in the USA is currently 7.25 USD per hour, and it’s the minimum you have to receive for whatever work you’re doing. Being paid by the hour is suitable for students since they get paid exactly how much they work.

So, if you couldn’t reach your 20 hours per week last week, you could take on some extra shifts the next week to cover the difference.

However, it’s important to note that just because this is the legal minimum wage rate, you’re not supposed to let anyone underpay you.

There are complex, demanding jobs that require a certain level of skills and knowledge that not everyone has. If that is the case, you should ask for the following rights to be met:

  • earning per hour as much as your full-time colleague on the same job
  • having the same rights in terms of work dynamics, and professional status

So, when it comes to your wages, make sure to do some research and find out what other people are earning to be ready to negotiate your rights.

Breaks During Work Hours

As a student who is employed part-time, you have the right to take breaks during work hours, just like your other colleagues. Different states and localities have different laws regarding the number and duration of breaks that need to be available to student workers.

Make sure your employee is complying with these laws and allowing you to take your well-earned break.

Paying Taxes

Just because you’re a student and aren’t earning that much money just yet, you could still be eligible for paying taxes. This is not just the case for students who work regular jobs in different companies or organizations, with an official employee and employment status.

It’s also the case for students who take on jobs like babysitting, tutoring, house-sitting, lawn-care, grocery shopping, and similar since they are considered self-employed. The money they earn doing these and other similar jobs is taxable.

The IRS has published a detailed guide on how to figure out your taxes, how and when to pay them, and whether or not you’re eligible to pay them based on your earnings.

Employment Contract

Finally, an important legal consideration you shouldn’t forget is signing an employment contract with your employee. If you’re working part-time and you want to protect your rights as an employee, you can ask for a legal contract to be made. This contract should define your:

  • responsibilities
  • wages
  • work hours
  • shifts
  • breaks
  • holidays
  • rights

Simply put, it defines all the rights and legal considerations we’ve discussed above and is there to protect you from being treated wrongfully. So, consider asking your employee to sign such a contract to make sure you know your rights and these rights are fully respected. can help you practice writing and find writing samples with legal terminology. Check it out if you’d want to try and write the contract outline yourself.

Where to Find This Legal Information?

As we’ve already mentioned, there are different state laws in the USA and even local laws that apply to certain parts of the state. As a student, you’re probably confused about where you could find all the information you need to make sure you’re complying with all legal regulations.

Several different credible sources of information could help you find the right, up-to-date facts. Those include:

U.S. Department of Labor

DOL has an exhaustive and informative website that is a great resource for students looking for facts and legal regulations. It also has the contact information for all their agencies that might be of specific interest to you.


Visit the IRS’ website to find information about taxes and eligibility for paying them. You can contact them personally and talk to a customer service agent.

Youth employment organizations

Many youth employment organizations will be more than happy to help you solve any dilemmas and get a part-time job according to all regulations. You can find and contact them online or locally.

University counselor

The counselor at your college can also help you find the information you need if you’re having a hard time doing it yourself. If they don’t have all the answers, they’ll help you contact the right people or resources.

State-specific labor and employment websites

Some states have created their own websites to handle all employment and labor information, with sections dedicated to young workers and students. Look these up in your state to find information.

Final Thoughts

Working part-time as a student is a great way to earn while studying, but you need to be careful about respecting the law and having your rights protected. The best way to do so is to do your research and be informed about all there is to know in legal terms about working part-time as a student. Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand some of your basic rights. Now, do some more research to be sure you’re following the legal considerations of your state, locality, or visa.

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