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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Child Labor Rules Advisor

Alert: The Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues employers and workers face when responding to COVID-19, including the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Child Labor Rules Advisor provides guidance on Federal child labor rules established by the FLSA. This Act establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor rules affecting full- and part-time workers in the private sector and in the Federal, state and local governments. The rules vary depending upon the age of the young worker and his or her occupation.

Two things are certain:

  1. Once an employee is 18, there are no Federal child labor rules.
  2. Federal child labor rules do not require work permits. However, many states issue age certificates if you are asked to provide them by your employer.

All states have child labor standards. When Federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to young workers will apply. You may wish to find out about the child labor laws in your state.

This Advisor answers questions about workers and businesses that are subject to the FLSA and its child labor rules. Most employment is covered, but you may wish to learn more about FLSA coverage by clicking on the FLSA Coverage and Employment Status Advisor.

Before using this Advisor, you may want to review a brief explanation of what the FLSA requires and what the FLSA does NOT require. You may also want to review the list of child labor frequently asked questions.

The FLSA Child Labor Rules Advisor is one of a series of elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws. To view the entire list of elaws Advisors please visit the elaws website. To learn more about the Labor Department's efforts to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards in place to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce, visit the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) website.