FLSA Child Labor Laws

FLSA Series Part 3: Child Labor Laws

This is the third of a series of articles explaining the Fair Labor Standards Act, FLSA, or the Wage and Hour Law. This article will discuss the child labor laws under the FLSA. Be aware that to be in full compliance, you should also check to see if your state has additional regulations. I know my state of California does.

The FLSA applies to minors by limiting both working conditions and restricting the hours that can be worked. Some of the regulations were updated in 2010. Let’s look at the provisions by the age categories that are used.

Under Age 14

There are three primary guidelines for this group. First is that most work is prohibited. Second, children may be employed by their parents, so don’t be concerned for the 12 year old that is busing your table in the corner family-owned restaurant or feeding the chickens on the family farm. Third, there are a few exceptions beyond working for parents that are acceptable and these include acting and newspaper carriers.

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Ages 14 and 15

The 2010 regulation changes added more acceptable industries and jobs for this age group. The revised regulations also added more work study options. The changed regs eliminated door-to-door sales for this age group, but explicitly stated volunteer sales were still permissible.

Hours for this group are significantly restricted. When school is in session, there is a maximum of three hours per day, with a cap of eighteen hours per week. During school vacations, there is a maximum of eight hours per day, with a cap of forty hours per week. So, 14 and 15 year-olds should never work overtime.

Which hours scheduled are also part of the regulations for 14 and 15 year-old workers. Their shifts may only be between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. These hours expand for the summer, defined as May 31 through Labor Day in September, when the shifts may run two hours later to 9:00 p.m.

Ages 16 and 17

This age group, as the younger ones, is prohibited from hazardous jobs. The 2010 regulation updates expanded the list of hazardous industries, so you may have been in compliance, then fallen out due to these changes.

Need more information? Go to www.dol.gov or for California www.dir.ca.gov.


Beverly N. Dance, MBA, SPHR-CA, CCP, CEBS

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