Generally, in North Carolina children under 18 years of age may not work between 11 pm and 5 am on nights prior to a school day. However, youth ages 16 and older can work during those hours provided they have written permission from their parent/guardian and the school principal.
North Carolina law follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in defining occupations that are too hazardous for minors (www.youthrules.dol.gov).
During the school year, 14- and 15-year-olds may work no more than three hours a day between 7 am and 7 pm, up to a maximum 18 hours per week. When school’s not in session, they may work up to eight hours a day but no more than 40 hours per week. During summer months, they may work as late as 9 pm.
Minors ages 12 and 13 may work only in newspaper delivery jobs. Exception: Youth ages 13 and older can receive hardship work certificates if their parent/guardian agrees and obtains a letter from a school official, social worker or probation officer approving the work certificate, subject to review by the Commissioner of Labor.
If you employ workers under age 16, you must give them a 30-minute break after every five hours worked. Breaks lasting less than 30 minutes are considered continuous work time and are compensable.
The Wage and Hour Bureau in the North Carolina Department of Labor administers the child labor regulations. For more information, go to www.nclabor.com/wh/wh.htm.