Summer jobs: 3 things to know about Michigan law and hiring teens

What's powering the washers at Laundry Palace is a lot of hot water and soap, but the hard work, elbow grease and grit is coming from teens. 

Half the workers are teens looking for that extra spending money for high school or college.  

"I worked when I was getting my first car when I was 16, so I had to start paying for that so that's what really encouraged me because I needed to start paying for my own bills so it was rough," said Kayla Gregory.

Michigan bucks the national average with the number of teens in the workforce, especially summers. But there are laws for employers. Deborah Brouwer, an employment attorney with Nemeth law, explains.  

"I think possibly one of them would be the breaks, teens need for every five hours that they work they are required to take a 30 minute rest or meal break and Michigan law does not require that other employees take breaks so employees can forget about making sure that their teens to take the break," she said.

About 200,000 teens are making loads of cash off places like this. Next door, the soft serve joint Dairy O on Main Street is serving up summer saving money for kids as well. Megan Stepnitz is 18. She said hiring teens is a smart choice.

"They are so hard-working and especially going to school, they know how hard it has to be to do school and work at the same time and they always put in their full effort," she said.

The hours teens can work are limited depending on their age.

"For 16- and 17-year-olds during the summer, when they are not in school, they can work until 11:30, during the school year they can only work until 10:30, so I think that's a problem area for some employers," Brouwer said.

One of the reasons Michigan may have more teen workers is because of pay scale changes. 

"I think also this increased minimum-wage in Michigan, which is higher for other employees, is causing employers to hire teens for at least the summer work," Brouwer said.

"It is all about the money," said Gregory. "Honestly, I really need it for college."