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FLSA: Child Labor Rules

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The child labor provisions in the FLSA restrict the amount of time and conditions under which minors age 17 and younger are permitted to work. (Exceptions are made for minors engaged in farm work.)

Youths ages 16 and 17 may perform any nonhazardous job for unlimited hours. Those ages 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in various jobs (except manufacturing, mining and hazardous positions) under the following conditions:   

  • They can’t work more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a nonschool day in a nonschool week or 40 hours in a nonschool week.
  • Between Labor Day and May 31, they can’t begin work before 7 a.m. or end after 7 p.m. From June 1 through Labor Day, their work must end before 9 p.m.

Under a special provision, youths 14 and 15 years old enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program may work up to 23 hours during a school week and three hours on each school day. 

Children under 14 aren’t allowed to work, except in a few circumstances, including delivering newspapers, performing in radio, television, movie or theatrical productions and working in their parents’ solely owned businesses (except in manufacturing or hazardous jobs).

Note: Different rules may apply in your state. To check the regulations, go to www.youthrules.dol.gov.

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