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Child Labor Resource Update

05 Mar

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The FLSA child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youths and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health and well-being. Many states also have child labor laws.

Where a state child labor law is less restrictive than the federal law, the federal law applies. Where a state child labor law is more restrictive than the federal law, the state law applies.

To assist employers with mitigating risk in this area of employment law, we want to equip you with all the necessary resources you will need to ensure compliance with federal and state child labor laws. In this resource update, you will have all official agency and state links.


Common Child Labor Violations

  • Working longer or later than legally allowed
  • Driving a motor vehicle or forklift
  • Using meat-processing machines
  • Performing dangerous jobs that are off-limits for their age
  • Under legal age for employment
  • Parents hiring their own children without reviewing state law requirements


Most Common Industries for Child Labor Violations

  • Amusement/Recreation
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • Food Service


State Guides

Employer Tools

Business Considerations

  • Leadership and Policies – Ensure the company has a strong corporate commitment and leadership in place supporting compliance with child labor laws. Employers should have zero tolerance policies for violations of child labor laws.

  • Warnings and Signage – Employers who legally hire employees under the age of 18 should post warnings throughout the workplace that identifies equipment or areas off-limits to minors.
  • Labor Law Posters – Employers should also ensure they display the required state and federal child labor law posters in areas where workers frequent, in order that everyone in the workforce will be fully aware of applicable federal and state laws.
  • Provide Different Nametags and Spotlight Dangerous Equipment – Employers who legally hire employees under the age of 18 should provide workers under the age of 18 with a different color nametag or a nametag with some distinguishing characteristic so that workers under the age of 18 can be easily identified. Also, place a “STOP” sticker or sign on equipment the DOL deems hazardous for use by minors.
  • Ensure Vendors and Contractors Meet Comparable Standards – Research the past practices of any vendors and contractors and avoid using any vendors or contractors that have historically engaged child labor. Require that all contracts include detailed disclosure requirements, such as that the contractor has no right to subcontract without authorization and validation by your company’s leadership team.

  • Training – Training should be provided to managers and supervisors on child labor requirements. Managers and supervisors must know what to look for and how to enforce the company’s policies and comply with the law.
  • Parent Employers – Business owners often get excited after speaking to their CPA and finding out that there are some tax benefits to doing so. However, parents who want to hire their children often fail to consult federal and state child labor laws. There are states that allow parents to hire their own children to work in their business, provided that the parent is the owner, and the business is a sole proprietorship or LLC.

    Some states exempt parents from most child labor law provisions in certain industries. Some states may not have an exception for parents at all. States may not likely recognize a parent of a minor child if the parent is an owner of a C-Corp or S-Corp, and therefore, they would be subject to the child labor laws of the state, hiring as the company and not as the parent. Parents hiring their own children to perform work such as modeling, live stage, dancing, singing, filming, taping, and other similar work, should always look to see if their state has requirements for children working in the performing arts.

    For example, in Michigan, a parent who hires his child to wear the company’s children’s apparel and post pictures of their child to be seen by the public, would not be subject to the youth employment laws, but will be required to obtain a performing arts authorization and be approved before their child can perform any work. It is imperative to understand that a CPA is not an employment law attorney, and that although there may be tax benefits in certain instances, child labor law must be reviewed. Employers should seek assistance from their HR professional or employment attorney.

Child Labor Fact Sheets and FAQs

State-by-State Child Labor Law Websites

Visit the following state pages to obtain information specific to your state or the state in which you are planning to hire minors:

  • Alabama: The Alabama Department of Labor’s Child Labor Division enforces the Alabama Child Labor Law. This law is designed to protect working minors and ensure they have sufficient time for education1. More details can be found here.
  • Alaska: In Alaska, all minors under 18 years of age employed in the state must have a permit to work. There are specific restrictions on the hours and types of work a minor can perform2. More details can be found here.
  • Arizona: The Arizona Department of Labor enforces the Youth Employment Laws. These laws establish the hours youths can work and prohibit certain occupations in which they can be employed3. More details can be found here.
  • Arkansas: In Arkansas, the minimum age for employment is 14. Work Permits are required for all employed minors under the age of 184. More details can be found here.
  • California: In California, almost all minors under the age of 18 are subject to California’s child labor protections. There are restrictions on the hours of work and the types of work a minor can perform5. More details can be found here.
  • Colorado: Under the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act (CYEOA), a minor is defined as any person under the age of eighteen. The Colorado Division of Labor Standards and Statistics enforces provisions of the CYEOA. There are specific restrictions on the hours a minor can work and the types of work a minor can perform. More details can be found here.
  • Connecticut: In Connecticut, employers are generally subject to both state child labor laws and the federal child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). There are restrictions on the hours of work and the types of work a minor can perform. More details can be found here.
  • Delaware: The Delaware Department of Labor Division of Industrial Affairs Office of Labor Law Enforcement enforces the Delaware Child Labor Law. This law is designed to protect working minors and ensure they have sufficient time for education. There are restrictions on the hours of work and the types of work a minor can perform. More details can be found here.
  • Florida: The Florida Department of Labor oversees the safety of minors in Florida by regulating the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by limiting working hours, prohibiting work in hazardous occupations, and requiring employment certificates. More details can be found here.
  • Georgia: The Georgia Department of Labor oversees the safety of minors in Georgia by regulating the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by limiting working hours, prohibiting work in hazardous occupations, and requiring employment certificates. More details can be found here.
  • Hawaii: Under the Hawaii Child Labor Law, a minor is defined as any person under the age of eighteen. The Hawaii Division of Labor Standards and Statistics enforces provisions of the Hawaii Child Labor Law. There are specific restrictions on the hours a minor can work and the types of work a minor can perform. More details can be found here.
  • Idaho: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in Idaho is a federally funded program designed to assist eligible youth in achieving academic and employment success. Services are designed to meet the needs of out-of-school youth. More details can be found here.
  • Illinois: The Illinois Department of Labor oversees the safety of minors in Illinois by regulating the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by limiting working hours, prohibiting work in hazardous occupations, and requiring employment certificates. More details can be found here.
  • Indiana: Effective July 1, 2021, Indiana eliminated work permits completely, and now requires all employers with five or more minor employees (under age 18) to use Indiana Department of Labor’s Youth Employment System (YES) to track and report minor-employee information. More details can be found here.
  • Iowa: In Iowa, both federal and state child labor laws may apply. Sometimes there are differences between the federal and state laws, and it is important for employers to understand which laws apply to specific circumstances. More details can be found here.
  • Kansas: The Kansas Department of Labor provides information about child labor laws, including prohibited occupations and hour restrictions1. The Kansas Department of Labor also provides a list of jobs that are permissible for 14- and 15-year-olds2. More details can be found here.
  • Kentucky: The Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Kentucky’s labor laws relating to minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, lunch breaks, rest periods, payroll deductions, child labor, and wage discrimination1. The working hours restrictions apply to all minors 14 to 17 years of age who are enrolled in school, dropped out of school or participating in a homeschool program2. More details can be found here.
  • Louisiana: In Louisiana, work permits are required for all minors under the age of 18 to work in the State1. The Louisiana Workforce Commission has compiled the Minor Labor Statutes and Administrative Rules regarding Minor Labor2. More details can be found here.
  • Maine: In Maine, children under 14 may not work, except in very limited cases1. All minors under the age of 18 must complete an employment permit application and get their permit before starting a new job2. More details can be found here.
  • Maryland: Work permits are required for all minors under the age of 18 to work in the State of Maryland1. The work permit must be in the employer’s possession before the minor is permitted to work. Employers must keep the work permit on file for three years2. More details can be found here.
  • Massachusetts: Under the Massachusetts Child Labor Law, a minor is defined as any person under the age of eighteen. The Attorney General’s Office enforces youth employment (child labor) laws that protect workers under 18. Child labor laws limit the hours workers under 18 can work and the kinds of jobs that they can do. State law also requires employers to have Youth Employment Permits (work permits) on file for all workers under 18. More details can be found here.
  • Michigan: The Youth Employment Standards Act (YESA) in Michigan defines a minor as someone who is less than 18 years of age, including but not limited to employees, volunteers, independent contractors and performing artists. Minors under 18 years of age must obtain a work permit or a written agreement or contract entered into between the employer and the governing school district, public school academy, or nonpublic school before starting work. More details can be found here.
  • Minnesota: The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry provides information related to child labor laws, age and hours restrictions for working teens, and the Child Labor Standards Act1. More details can be found here.
  • Mississippi: Child labor laws in Mississippi are governed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). The FLSA ensures that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities1. More details can be found here.
  • Missouri: Missouri’s Child Labor Law applies to youth under age 16. Youth under 14 years of age are not permitted to work at any job—other than in the agriculture or entertainment industries or casual jobs—at any time. Youth who are 14 or 15 generally are permitted to work, but their work, as well as the work of all children in the entertainment industry, is subject to restrictions1. More details can be found here.
  • Montana: The Montana Child Labor Standards Act of 1993 establishes the hours minors may work and hazardous occupations in which they may not work – unless specifically exempted. The Montana Child Labor Laws apply to all minors, migrants as well as resident children. It is the intent of these laws to protect young workers from employment possibly interfering with their educational opportunities or be detrimental to their health or well-being1. More details can be found here.
  • Nebraska: In Nebraska, state and federal child labor laws are in place. It is the responsibility of the employer to be aware of which laws apply and to be governed by the more restrictive1. All minors working in Nebraska must have an employment certificate2. More details can be found here.
  • Nevada: In Nevada, the state law declares that it is the policy of the State to foster the employment of young people while providing necessary safeguards based on age1. All minors working in Nevada must have an employment certificate2. More details can be found here.
  • New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, minors under the age of 16 may not work more than 3 hours on a school day or more than 18 hours in a school week1. They also need a Youth Employment Certificate2. More details can be found here.
  • New Jersey: New Jersey’s Child Labor Law protects you by limiting the number of hours you can work and the type of work you can do. Among other requirements, the law states: All minors working in NJ must have an employment certificate, also known as “working papers,” or a special permit for each job they work1. More details can be found here.
  • New Mexico: In New Mexico, state law requires child employment certificates for youth under age 16. Employment certificates are provided by the school or the Labor Department1. More details can be found here.
  • New York: The Division of Labor Standards enforces the statutes that govern the maximum and prohibited hours of work as well as the type of work permitted for minors in New York State1. Youth aged 14-17 need working papers in order to hold a job in New York State2. More details can be found here.
  • North Carolina: In North Carolina, youth under the age of 18 who work must have a Youth Employment Certificate1. More details can be found here.
  • North Dakota: In North Dakota, state laws pertaining to youth employment establish a minimum age of 14 to be employed and place certain limitations on the employment of teens ages 14 and 151. More details can be found here.
  • Ohio: In Ohio, the Child Labor Law (CLL) was enacted to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of minors by forbidding their employment or work in certain establishments and occupations, and under certain specified ages1. The CLL requires minors to obtain work permits prior to beginning work2. More details can be found here.
  • Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, both federal and state labor laws apply to youth in the workplace. The laws are designed to protect Oklahoma youth from exploitation and danger, not remove them from the workplace. All Oklahoma students who are 14 and 15 years of age must obtain a work permit (also known as employment certificate) before getting a job or participating in work-based learning. More details can be found here.
  • Oregon: In Oregon, all employers must have a certificate to employ minors under 18 years of age. Minors ages 14-17 are not issued individual work permits in Oregon. The law protects minor workers and regulates the employment of minors in agriculture. More details can be found here.
  • Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Child Labor Law (CLL) was enacted to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of minors by forbidding their employment or work in certain establishments and occupations, and under certain specified ages. The CLL requires minors to obtain work permits prior to beginning work. More details can be found here.
  • Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, there are state, as well as federal laws, which regulate the employment of minors. The following provides information about the hours and types of occupations that minors may work and explains how to obtain the permits and certificates needed to comply with the laws. More details can be found here.
  • South Carolina: South Carolina rules and regulations on child labor are identical to those adopted by the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. These rules limit the work hours of persons 14 and 15 years old and prohibit the employment of persons under 18 years of age in occupations determined to be hazardous. More details can be found here.
  • South Dakota: In South Dakota, a complex set of youth employment laws exists. Children younger than 16 years may not be employed in any occupation dangerous to life, health, or morals. They also cannot work for more than four hours per school day or 20 hours per school week, and not more than eight hours per non-school day or 40 hours per non-school week1. More details can be found here.
  • Tennessee: Tennessee’s Child Labor Law includes protections for youth (or “minors”) 14 to 17 years old who enter the workforce. The purpose of this law is to ensure that the work being performed is safe and does not jeopardize the health, well-being, or educational opportunities of these young people1. More details can be found here.
  • Texas: In Texas, people younger than 18 years old are considered minors. The Texas Child Labor Laws make sure a child is not working in a job or way that could harm the child’s safety, health, or well-being1. More details can be found here.
  • Utah: In Utah, minors under the age of 14 are not allowed to work, with a few exceptions, in order to maintain reasonable safeguards for their health, safety, and education1. More details can be found here.
  • Vermont: In Vermont, minors under the age of 18 are not obligated to obtain a work permit to engage in work permitted by state law. However, employers must have evidence of their compliance with Vermont’s child labor laws1. More details can be found here.
  • Virginia: In Virginia, minors under the age of 18 are not obligated to obtain a work permit to engage in work permitted by state law. However, employers must have evidence of their compliance with Virginia’s child labor laws1. More details can be found here.
  • Washington: In Washington, there are specific laws and rules employers must follow to hire anyone under the age of 181. Businesses who violate minor work restrictions can be subject to fines and civil penalties2. More details can be found here.
  • West Virginia: West Virginia Child Labor Laws provide an opportunity for minors fourteen through seventeen years of age to enter the workplace in a safe and conducive environment that promotes responsibility and educational opportunities1. More details can be found here.
  • Wisconsin: Most Wisconsin employers hiring or permitting minors between the ages of 12 and 15 to work must possess a valid work permit for each minor before work may be performed1. More details can be found here.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming Child Labor Law is administered by the Department of Employment and states that minors younger than 14 years of age may not work in order to protect their educational opportunities, health, and overall well-being1.
    More details can be found here.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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