As you may know, the FLSA places restrictions on the kinds of jobs minors can have (this also includes agricultural and non-agricultural employment) as well as the hours they work depending on age categories. Virtually every small business is covered by the FLSA.
Children of any age can have jobs performing in radio, newspaper delivery, movie, theatrical productions, television, and non-hazardous jobs for their parents’ non-agricultural business.
Non-Agricultural Jobs Guidelines
For non-agricultural employment, the minimum age for work eligibility for a minor is 14 years-old. For children 14 to 15 years-old, they can only work outside of school hours no more than 3 hours on a weekday, and no more than 18 hours in a school week. For a non-school day, this is limited to 8 hours, and for a non-school week, 40 hours.
They also can’t begin work before 7AM or work after 7PM during the school year–from June 1st to Labor Day, they can work until 7PM. Minors from 14 to 15 years-old, they also cannot work in hazardous jobs, including manufacturing or mining.
Children Aged 16 and 17
Minors from 16-17 year-old aren’t limited in the hours or the time of day they can work. That said, they aren’t permitted to work in hazardous jobs as dictated by the Secretary of Labor.
These hazardous jobs include the following:
- Roofing operations
- Logging and/or sawmilling
- Excavation operations
- Meat packing or processing (including using power-driven meat slicing machines)
- Using power-driven bakery machines
- Using power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears
- Using power-driven hoisting equipment
- Any job that exposes a minor to radioactive substances and ionizing radiations
- Driving a motor vehicle of any kind
- Using power-driven metal forming, punching, or shearing machines
- Using power-driven paper products and machines
- Manufacturing brick, tile and related products
- Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
- Manufacturing/storing explosives
- Using power-driven woodworking machines
People Age 18 Years and Older
Those aged 18 or older have the capacity to perform any job for an unlimited amount of hours. Of course, that said, employers need to keep their date of birth, start and end time, occupation, and hours worked every day and workweek on record for any employees under 19 years-old.
What does this mean as an employer? You’ll need to ask potential employees if they are 18 or older–if they’re 18 or under and you hire them, you will need to gain proof of their date of birth.
Agricultural Jobs Guidelines
As a child, the minimum age you can work in an agricultural job is 10 years-old. For farms not covered by minimum wage requirements, children that are 10-11 years-old can work. Children 12-13 years-old may work on farms that are covered by minimum wage.
Keep in mind this work needs to be non-hazardous, and can’t be during school hours. Written parental consent must also be provided for children to work on the same farm as them.
For children 14-15 years-old, they are allowed to work outside of school hours for any non-hazardous farm job. Those children 16 years-old and above can work in any farm job for an unlimited amount of hours.
Check Your State Labor Laws
Depending on where you live, your state might have varying degrees of restrictions for child labor laws–less or more restrictive than the FLSA. Of course, if it’s stricter, you will need to abide by those laws in your state. If you’re unsure, reach out to a local attorney who specializes in labor law to see what you’re obligated to follow.