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- FLSA - Child Labor Rules

The child labor rules that apply to non-agricultural employment depend on the age of the young worker and the kind of job to be performed. Under the FLSA, a youth has to be at least 14 years of age to work, (except in agriculture where the age limit is lower).

In addition to restrictions on hours and jobs for 14- and 15-year-old youth, the Secretary of Labor has found that certain jobs are too hazardous for anyone under 18 years of age to perform. These jobs are listed on the following page.

The basic rules for when and where a youth may work are:

A youth 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not, for unlimited hours.

A youth 16 or 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job for unlimited hours; and

A youth 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in various non-manufacturing, non-mining, non-hazardous jobs. They cannot work:

  • More than 3 hours a day on school days, including Fridays;
  • More than 18 hours per week in school weeks;
  • More than 8 hours a day on non-school days;
  • More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session.

School hours are determined by the hours of the local public school district where the minor resides while employed.

Also, 14- and 15-year-olds may not work before 7:00 a.m., nor after 7:00 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when their permissible hours are extended to 9:00 p.m. Under special provisions, 14- and 15-year- olds who are enrolled in a Federally approved school-administered and school-supervised Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) or Work Study Programs (WSP) may be employed during school hours. WECEP participants may also be employed in otherwise prohibited occupations for which an official exception has been authorized by the Department of Labor.

For more detailed information on where 14- and 15-year-olds may work and what kind of jobs they may do, click here.

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