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Compliance Assistance Resources

elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- FLSA - Child Labor Rules

The child labor rules that apply to agricultural employment depend on the age of the young worker and the kind of job to be performed. The rules are the same for all youth, migrant children as well as local resident children. The Secretary of Labor has found that certain jobs in agriculture are too hazardous for anyone under 16 to perform. These jobs are listed on a following page.

Once a young person turns 16, he or she may work on any day, for any number of hours and in any job in agriculture.

A youth 14 or 15 years old may work in agriculture, on any farm, but only during hours when school is not in session and only in non-hazardous jobs. (Exemptions from the hazardous occupation prohibitions are explained later.)

If the youth is 12 or 13 years of age, he or she may only work in agriculture, on a farm, if a parent has given written permission, or a parent is working on the same farm. Again, the work may only be performed during hours when school is not in session and in non-hazardous jobs.

If the youth is younger than 12, he or she may only work in agriculture on a farm if the farm is not required to pay the Federal minimum wage. Under the FLSA, "small" farms are exempt from the minimum wage requirements. "Small" farm means any farm that did not use more than 500 "man-days" of agricultural labor in any calendar quarter (3-month period) during the preceding calendar year. "Man-day" means any day during which an employee works at least one hour. If your farm is "small," you may employ workers under 12 years of age in non-hazardous jobs, but only during hours when school is not in session, and only with a parent's permission.