Child Labor Laws
Child labor laws were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities. These child labor provisions come under the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938. These rules apply to children under the age of 18 with more stringent rules applying to youth under age 16.
The federal child labor laws do not apply to children under the age of 18 working for their parents in nonhazardous occupations or under age 16 not working in mining or manufacturing. The laws also do not apply to children working as actors or performers, engaged in newspaper delivery, and homeworkers.
The child labor laws include regulations on how many hours in a school week or a non-school week children can work, how early they can start work in the morning, and how late they can work in the evenings. It states what is considered a hazardous job, such as working with power-driven machinery, and several other provisions.
The rules listed above apply to nonagricultural jobs. Youth employed in agriculture have a separate set of rules. Youths age 16 and above can work any farm job at any time. Youths age 14 and 15 can work outside of school hours in nonhazardous farm jobs. Youths age 12 and 13 can work nonhazardous jobs with their parents’ consent. Youths of any age can work at any time in any job if the farm is owned and operated by their parents.
The child labor laws are very extensive. Most all states also have their own set of laws concerning employing youth. When federal and state rules are different, the rule that provides the most protection will apply.
If you are looking to hire children for summer help, you need to be aware of these rules. Please give us a call for more specific information or if you have any questions concerning these laws.