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Child-Labor Q&A

September 1, 2000
Related Topics: Workplace Violence, Wages and Hours, Safety and Workplace Violence, Featured Article
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Ifyour company increasingly is hiring youth, it’s a good time to review the Fair LaborStandards Act (FLSA). Its child-labor provisions are designed to protect minors, and yourawareness of them will prevent age, wage, overtime pay, and record-keeping violations.Below are some frequently asked questions.

Whathours can youths work?

Underthe FLSA, the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural employment is 14. Hoursworked by 14- to 15-year olds are limited to:

  • Non-school hours
  • 3 hours on a school day
  • 18 hours in a school week
  • 8 hours on a non-school day
  • 40 hours in a non-school week; and
  • Hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

What is the youngest age at which a person can beemployed?

TheFLSA sets 14 as the minimum age for most non-agricultural work. However, at any age,youths may deliver newspapers; perform in radio, television, movie or theatricalproductions; work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing,or hazardous jobs); and perform babysitting or minor chores around a private home. Also,at any age, youths may be employed as home workers to gather evergreens and make evergreenwreaths.

Differentage requirements apply to the employment of youths in agriculture. When both the FLSAchild labor provisions and state child labor laws apply, the more protective takesprecedence. For more information, visit this Department of Labor Web site.

Mustyoung workers be paid the minimum wage?

Thefederal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour. However, a special minimum wage of $4.25 per hourapplies to workers under the age of 20 during their first 90 consecutive calendar days ofemployment. Other programs that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimumwage apply to disabled workers, full-time students, and student learners employed pursuantto sub-minimum wage certificates, which are permitted in certain circumstances.

Musta youth have a work permit?

TheFLSA does not require that youths get work permits or working papers to get a job. Somestates do require work permits. Youths can ask their school counselors if a work permit isneeded before getting a job.

Whatkinds of work can teens perform?

Regulationsgoverning youth employment in non-agricultural jobs differ somewhat from those pertainingto agricultural employment. In non-agricultural work, the permissible jobs, by age, are asfollows:

  • Workers 18 years or older may perform any job, whether hazardous or not.
  • Workers 16 and 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous jobs.
  • Workers 14 and 15 years old may work outside school hours in various non-manufacturing, non-mining, and non-hazardous jobs.

Source:U.S. Department of Labor

Workforce,September 2000, Vol. 79, No. 9, p. 50 -- Subscribe now!

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