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Compliance Assistance Resources

elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses

- FLSA - Child Labor Rules

Non-Agricultural Exemptions

Complete Child Labor Exemptions

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for certain exemptions. The child labor rules do not apply to:

  • Youth employed as actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio, or television productions;
  • Youth engaged in the delivery of newspapers to consumers;
  • Youth working at home in the making of wreaths composed of natural holly, pine, cedar, or other evergreens (including the harvesting of the evergreens).

Partial Exemptions from Hazardous Order Prohibitions

Limited exemptions from some of the hazardous occupations rules allow 16- and 17- year-old apprentices and student-learners to perform otherwise prohibited work (hazardous jobs) under certain conditions. The hazardous occupations in which youth may work if the those conditions are met are: HO #5 Power-driven woodworking machines; HO #8 Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines; HO #10 Meat and poultry slaughtering, packing, or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines); HO #12 Power-driven paper-product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors; HO #14 Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs; HO #16 Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof; and HO #17 Excavation operations.

There are no similar exemptions from the hazardous occupations rules for youth younger than 16. 14- and 15-year-olds, however, may be employed in approved school-administered and school-supervised Work Experience and Career Exploration Programs (WECEP) or Work Study Programs (WSP). Such programs allow variations in the rules and permit employment 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.

FLSA Section 13(c)(7) creates a limited exemption from the youth employment provisions for certain minors 14 through 17 years of age who are excused from compulsory school attendance beyond the eighth grade. This exemption allows eligible youth to be employed inside and outside of businesses that use machinery to process wood products (such as sawmills, furniture manufacturers, garden shed and gazebo manufacturers, cabinet makers and pallet shops) with some restrictions, but does not allow them to operate or assist in the operation of power-driven woodworking machinery.

Note: All states have child labor rules, mandatory school attendance laws, and determine the minimum age at which youth may operate motor vehicles. You may want to check on your state rules after you have completed this section of the Advisor.