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Alabama Babysitting Laws

Posted by Tamara

Babysitting is one of the few jobs young people under the age of 13 can legally hold in Alabama. Youngsters under 13 can also act in live performances, TV, radio or the movies. In addition, people over the age of 12 may deliver newspapers from 5 pm to 7 pm only.

It’s against the law for babysitters under the age of 16 to work during school hours, except during vacations. This is true of youngsters who are home schooled, as well.

Babysitters and other “casual laborers” are not subject to the state or federal minimum wage under the Alabama babysitting laws, under most circumstances. Most babysitters work only sporadically and can be paid any amount they and the parents agree to.  A babysitter who works more than 20 hours per week must be paid the federal minimum wage. A special provision allows teens to be paid a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days. When the young person completes 90 days of employment, or turns 20, they must be paid the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour.

Alabama law lists a lack of supervision as a form of child neglect under the law. However, like most states, Alabama doesn’t have hard and fast rules regarding the age at which a child may stay home alone, or the age that a babysitter must be. Many young people as young as 11 years old baby sit.

Also under Alabama law, day care workers, babysitters and anyone else to whom a child appeals for aid have a legal obligation to report physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children. Alabama law specifically protects those who make a report of abuse in good faith.

It’s important for parents to choose a babysitter who is mature, responsible and properly trained. The American Red Cross has a babysitter training program. Young people how learn to change diapers,  basic first aid, handling bedtime, and choosing safe and appropriate toys and games for their young charges.  

Many parents are tempted to use hidden cameras to keep their children safe under the Alabama babysitting laws. Parents and babysitters should be aware that Alabama is one of 13 states where it is illegal to tape someone without their prior written permission. Asking a prospective babysitter to sign an agreement that they will be taped is an effective way to screen potential babysitters.

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